15 killed, 150 injured in Orissa train tragedy (Night Lead)

February 14th, 2009 - 1:29 am ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Feb 13 (IANS) At least 15 passengers were killed and around 150 injured when the Howrah-Chennai Coromandel Express was derailed Friday evening near the Jajpur-Keonjhar Road railway station in Orissa, officials said, adding that the toll could go up.
East Coast Railway chief public relation officer J.P. Mishra said at least 15 people were killed and about 150 were injured when 14 of the 27 coaches of the super-fast express train were derailed near the Jajpur road railway station, some 110 km from the state capital.

“Two relief trains are on their way to the spot from the Khurdha Road and Bhadrak railway stations. Our priority is now to rescue survivors,” Mishra added.

Some coaches of the train, carrying about 1,500 passengers, were lying over each other. Rescue workers were working to save many trapped under the mangled bogies. Officials at the spot said the casualty figure could go up.

The injured were rushed to hospital.

In New Delhi, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, who had earlier in the day presented the interim railway budget, said at least 15 passengers were killed and “50-60 passengers were injured, many of them seriously”.

Orissa Director General of Police Manmohan Praharaj said, “The rescue and relief operations are on. We are sending the injured to hospitals.”

A local resident said the accident was “horrible and serious”. “I don’t know how many people have died but the number of the injured is definitely more than 50,” Kishore Jena, a resident of Jajpur Road, told IANS over telephone.

“The accident took place at about 7.45 p.m. but the (district) collector reached the spot around 9 p.m. The area was completely dark and local people were rescuing victims by arranging diesel generators.

“I along with some other locals shifted nearly 40 passengers including a foreigner woman to nearby hospitals,” Jena said.

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