The death toll from a three-train collision in eastern India has risen to at least 288, according to the Director General of Firefighting Services in Odisha State, Sudanshu Sarangi, on Saturday morning.
Sarangi confirmed to AFP this new death toll, while more than 850 others were also injured as a result of this accident that occurred on Friday evening, amid fears that many were trapped under the vehicles.
An earlier toll put the death toll at 207.
Footage broadcast by local stations showed smashed cabins, bloodstains on twisted metal parts, and dozens of passengers lying on the sides of the track near Balasore, about 200 km from the regional capital, Bhubaneswar.
Sarangi told AFP that the death toll “is rising due to the large number of serious injuries and head injuries.”
“About 850 injured people have been taken to hospitals,” local official in Odisha state Pradeep Gina told AFP, stressing that relief work is continuing.
“The top priority now is to rescue (the passengers) and provide health support to the injured,” he added.
Amitabh Sharma, director of Indian Railways, told AFP that the accident occurred between two trains and a freight train that was parked at the site where the collision occurred.
Relief teams are working to pull injured people from the wreckage, amid fears of a high death toll.
“It is very difficult to estimate the numbers of casualties on the ground or to clarify the number of wounded,” Sharma said, expressing his belief that many passengers were stuck under the vehicles.
“Doctors and medical teams have been dispatched to the scene,” a medical official in Balasore told AFP.
For his part, a survivor said in a statement to a local news station that he was sleeping when the accident occurred, and he woke up to find himself stuck under about ten passengers, so that he could later find a way to get out of the cabin, and he was injured in his neck and arm.
Local media reports showed scenes of a train carriage overturned on one side of the track with what appeared to be survivors on top, and residents trying to recover victims.
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