Over 200 people were reported to have died Friday when a passenger train and a freight convoy clashed in the Balasore district in the Indian state of Odisha, it was reported.
According to the latest assessments, the number of casualties reached 233, Odisha State Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said Saturday. He added that at least 900 were injured, while efforts continue to rescue people who may have been trapped.
According to the Times of India, more than 200 ambulances were deployed and all hospitals in and around Balasore district have been put on alert to receive those affected.
In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
I spoke to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and took stock of the situation. Rescue operations are underway at the accident site and all possible help is being provided to those affected, he also tweeted.
According to Indian Railways spokesman Amitabh Sharma, a passenger train crashed into a freight train, causing 10 to 12 cars to fall onto the opposite track. A second passenger train coming down the same track later collided with the freight cars and derailed as well.
Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said rescue teams from other Indian states have been deployed to Odisha to assist local first responders.
The Odisha authorities have declared a day of mourning for Sunday. The incident is the deadliest rail disaster in India in decades. In 1999, two trains collided in West Bengal, causing at least 285 fatalities.