23 killed as Utkal Express derails in UP’s Muzaffarnagar, over 40 injured; rescue missions on

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Muzaffarnagar: Coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express after it derailed in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar on Saturday. Photo Courtesy: The Indian Express

In a tragic incident, at least 23 people have died and over 40 are injured after 14 coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derailed in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday evening.

According to the local police, the accident happene around 5.46 PM in Khatauli village in Muzaffarnagar, which is barely 100 kilometres from New Delhi.

The train was headed from Puri in Odisha to Haridwar in Uttarakhand. What’s more one coach rammed into a house on the sides of the tracks and destroyed it and two coaches piled one over the other.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted that he has ordered an inquiry into the train derailment to ascertain its cause.

“Strict action will be taken against any lapse,” the minister tweeted.

A team of the Ant-Terror Squad of the Uttar Pradesh police was rushed to the spot of the accident to start preliminary investigations into the matter. DSP Anoop Singh is heading a team, which will probe whether the rail accident has any terror angle. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were also rushed to the accident site.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath immediately spoke to the principal secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar and the District Magistrate of Muzaffarnagar and asked them to ensure that the rescue missions at Khatauli are done promptly.

Two dozen people including many women and children have been admitted to nearby medical facilities and hospitals and are undergoing treatment.

The train had left from Puri at 9 PM on Friday night and was to terminate at its destination in Haridwar at 9 PM on Saturday night. Officials of the Railway present at the spot said that a medical train was on its way to help and that other trains on the same route has been diverted through Shamli district. Cutters and cranes have been brought to the spot to cut the mangled remains of the coaches and rescue vcitims from inside.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed his grief over the incident. An NDRF team with 44 rescuers along with 2 search dogs have been sent to the accident spot.

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate said that around 50 people have been rescued so far.

The busy Northern Railway route will be affected due to the derailment. The accident comes less than a year after the Indore-Patna Express derailed near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh in November 2016, which left over 100 people dead. Later, it was found that the Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan was behind the accident.