New Delhi: At least 23 people have lost their lives and more than 100 sustained injuries when 14 bogies of the Utkal Express, which runs on the Puri-Haridwar-Kalinga route, derailed on Saturday evening in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar.
Local administration officials have rushed to the spot, and the railway officials are fearing casualties to go further up.
The accident took place around 5.46 pm in Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar, barely 100 kilometres from the national capital, New Delhi. The train was headed from Puri in Odisha to Haridwar in Uttarakhand. One coach rammed into a house on the sides of the tracks and two coaches climbed one over the other.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an inquiry into the train derailment to ascertain its cause. "Strict action will be taken against any lapse," Prabhu tweeted.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath spoke to principal secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar and the Muzaffarnagar District Magistrate (DM), and directed them to ensure prompt rescue and relief operations at Khatauli.
Some forty people, many women and children have been admitted to nearby medical hospitals for treatment. The train had left Puri at 9 pm on Friday night and was to terminate at Haridwar at 9 pm.
Cutters and cranes have been requisitioned to cut the mangled remains of the coaches and rescue people from inside.
NDRF DG Sanjay Kumar says about 60-70 injured people have been rescued so far and 20 dead bodies have been recovered.
“I will go to the derailment site. Our teams there are fully equipped. We will rescue stranded people ASAP,” he said.