A tragedy unfurled in North Bengal as four to five bogies of the Bikaner-Guwahati Express got derailed today evening. Rescue teams and ambulances have reached the spot while the passengers are being rescued from inside the train using gas cutters. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the situation from chief minister Mamata Banerjee
Dozens of passengers lay strewn along the track as five bogies of the Up Bikaner Express 15366 slipped out of the railway track as it was proceeding at a speed of 40 kmph, as per initial information gathered. The incident took place a little after 5 pm when the train was passing through Moynaguri in North Bengal. Railway authorities have said at least 12 bogies after the engine has suffered extensive damage. With sunlight fading, the rescue operation at present is being carried out with the help of floodlights and back- up generators.
Several passengers are feared dead and trapped inside the train while many have been hospitalized for now. North Bengal Medical College, Moynaguri Hospital and Jalpaiguri Sadar Hospital are receiving several of the injured persons. A fleet of ambulances, more than 51, have reached the accident spot. Three dead bodies have been recovered as of now, as per North Bengal district authorities and 16 injured have been admitted at Moynaguri Hospital. Of this, the condition of 15 persons is said to be critical. There was an overlapping of the derailed bogies given the force with which the train flew out of the track.
As per information from Railways, the Bikaner Express was carrying about 700 passengers in total. Some passengers who have received minor injuries were able to themselves egress the train and recalled the horror during the moment of the accident. The Railway has said it would initiate a probe into the matter but sources say that the probable cause of the derailment could be a fault on the railway track. The Darjeeling MP Raju Bista said that there are about 20 injured as of now but sources said the number is likely to shoot up as the rescue operation continues.
The chief minister Mamata Banerjee who was in a virtual meeting with the PM also took stock of the situation from her officials while the PM has also sought more information on the matter from the state government.
The incident brought back to memory the major accident of Jnaneshwari Express in 2010 which got derailed in West Midnapore, West Bengal, killing about 148 passengers.