3-Way Train Crash: Odisha Govt Releases Revised Figures, Toll At 275; 187 Bodies Unidentified
Bhubaneswar: The death toll in June 2 triple train crash, involving Bengaluru-Howrah express, the Coromandel Express and goods train, has been put at 275, according to revised figures released from Odisha government’s office.
“As some bodies were counted twice, at the spot and the hospital again, the death toll said then was not correct. After detailed verification and report by the district collector, the final death toll in the train tragedy has been put at 275,” Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena told the media.
Of the 1,175 injured, admitted to hospitals in Soro, Balasore, Bhadrak and Cuttack, 793 have been discharged while another 382 are still under treatment. “Two among them are critical but doctors are hopeful that their condition would improve. The treatment cost is being borne by the state government,” he informed.
So far, 88 bodies have been identified and 78 have been handed over while 187 are yet to be identified. “170 bodies have been shifted to Bhubaneswar from Balasore and 17 more are being brought to the city. To show respect to the dead, two bodies are being brought in each ambulance instead of dumping them in an open truck,” he said.
Jena further said that proper identification of the dead bodies is the biggest challenge now. “DNA sampling will be done and photographs of the deceased have be uploaded on three websites- www.osdma.org, www.srcodisha.nic.in and www.bmc.gov.in to facilitate identification,” he added.
Hundred unidentified bodies of passengers were received at AIIMS-Bhubaneswar this morning to make easier for the bereaved families to claim them.
“For embalming of bodies for preservation, a 13-member team of doctors has arrived in Bhubaneswar in a special IAF aircraft. DNA samples will also be kept by State Forensic Science Laboratory,” the Chief Secretary informed.
A Control Room has also been set up at BMC-ICOMC tower at Satya Nagar in Bhubaneswar to facilitate family/friends/relatives of deceased persons and stranded passengers. A toll-free helpline number 1800 345 0061 (for other parts) and 1929 (within Odisha) has been released to seek any help to trace the survivors and other assistance. Nodal officers have been assigned the task at AIIMS, Capital Hospital, AMRI, and KIMS.
Help desks have also been set up at entry points– Cuttack Railway Station, Cuttack Bus Stand, SCB Hospital, Bhubaneswar Railway Station, Baramunda Bus Stand and Biju Patnaik International Airport.
Earlier in the day, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw blamed the accident on change done to electronic interlocking while denying that it had anything to do with the anti-collision system “Kavach”.
Besides ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for families of deceased from Odisha and Rs 1 lakh assistance to the injured, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced free bus service to Kolkata from Puri Bhubaneswar and Cuttack till restoration of normal train service on Balasore route.