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Published on : Monday, August 21, 2017
At least 23 people were killed and leaving several injured when the 14 coaches of high speed Utkal Express jumped the rail tracks with one of them crashing into a house adjacent to the track near Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh, India.
The mishap happened around 5.45 pm near Khatauli town, which is about 40 km off Muzaffarnagar.
Deepak Agarwal, Commissioner, Saharanpur Division and District Magistrate, Muzaffarnagar, GS Priyadarshi said that the official figures of the bodies in the mortuary was 21, while there was another body of a woman pulled out from the track.
The Railway ministry officials in Delhi, however, put the number of dead at 12 and the injured around 75.
The two of the deceased have been identified as residents of Saharanpur District.
GS Priyadarshi said that around 90 people were injured in the accident and most of them have been admitted at district hospital of Muzaffarnagar.
Some others were taken to Muzaffarnagar Medical College and Meerut Medical College. The district authorities of Muzaffarnagar have also issued three helpline numbers: 0131-2436103/2436918/2436564 for the communications.
The NDRF officials said the search and rescue operations were practically over at the accident site with the last of the bodies most probably being pulled out from the ruins of the coaches.
Utkal Express was boarding from Puri in Odisha and going to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, which normally takes 36 hours for the journey.
Posses of PAC, ATS and NDRF teams, as also sniffer dog squads, were rushed to the accident spot to carry out rescue operations.
Those who have the severe injuries were shifted to the nearby government and private hospitals of Muzaffarnagar.
For the rescue operations, heavyweight cranes and gas cutters were being used to lift or cut the garbled remains of the coaches and disentangle passengers which stuck inside. Local people and villagers were also seen in engaging in the rescue work along with the disaster management team.
The policemen on the accident site said one of the derailed coaches had crashed into the wall of a house adjacent to the railway track and some people are feared to be trapped in the debris. The Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu said the restoration of the rail line where the Utkal Express had derailed was in full swing.
Four railway officials have been suspended and 3 others have been transferred and one has been sent on leave.
The move came on a day that Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu guaranteed the prompt action over the accident that appeared to have been caused due to negligence.