The Seemanchal Express accident in Bihar has claimed seven lives so far. Angered over the accident, villagers pelted stones at officials who visited the accident spot early Sunday morning. Railway officials said two people have sustained grievous injuries while 27 have minor injuries. The accident occurred around 3:50am on Sunday when the Delhi-bound Seemanchal Express was crossing Vaishali district in Bihar. A total of 11 coaches were derailed in the accident. Railway officials said the train was travelling at high speed at the time of the accident.
Rescue and relief operations are on for derailment of 9 coaches of Jogbani-Anand Vihar Terminal Seemanchal express at Sahadai Buzurg, Bihar.
— Piyush Goyal Office (@PiyushGoyalOffc) February 3, 2019
A probe has been ordered into the accident, while central and state governments have announced ex-gratia to the victims. Passengers said they were shocked by a loud sound and moments later realised that the train has met with an accident.
Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force reached the spot, a railway official said. As per initial probe, the engine separated and chugged forward with the first few coaches and those decoupled eventually derailed. A fracture in the track appears to have caused the accident, the railways said.
Smita Vats Sharma, Additional Director General PR (Rail) on #SeemanchalExpress: We are focusing on rescue and relief operations right now. Railway Accident Medical Van along with team of doctors are at site. Two teams of NDRF have also reached the spot. pic.twitter.com/iiYzaXCt2Z
— ANI (@ANI) February 3, 2019
The train accident comes days after the government said it had improved rail safety. “Indian Railways has experienced the safest year in its history,” Minister Piyush Goyal told parliament while presenting the interim budget. “All Unmanned Level Crossings have been eliminated,” he had said on Friday citing one of the main causes of train accidents.
“Railway Minister is in touch with Railway Board members and GM ECR (East Central Railways) regarding #seemanchalexpress accident…He (Piyush Goyal) has expressed profound grief over the loss of innocent lives in this tragic accident and wished speedy recovery for the injured,” the office of Piyush Goyal said in a statement.
The Railway Minister announced compensation of Rs. 5 lakh each to the family of those killed, Rs. 1 lakh to the grievously injured and Rs. 50,000 to those who suffered simple injuries. Also, all medical expenses will also be borne by the Railways, the office of Piyush Goyal said on Twitter.
Deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to the derailment of coaches of the Seemanchal Express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. Railways, NDRF, and local authorities are providing all possible assistance in the wake of the accident.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 3, 2019
A passenger who survived the train accident told , “I heard a loud bang and fell on the floor of the coach. It was very dark, I couldn’t see anything, felt broken glass everywhere.” Recalling the ordeal, he said, “I lifted my father on my shoulders and made him crawl out of the broken window”.