At least 11 people were killed and about 50 were injured in a collision between two passenger trains in India’s Andhra Pradesh state on Sunday, according to senior railway official Biswajit Sahu.
The railway ministry said in a statement that two coaches of one of the trains carrying passengers were derailed, and a preliminary investigation found that “human error” had led to the collision, caused by “overshooting of signal” by the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger train between Alamanda and Kantakapalle.
The accident occurred when the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger train stopped due to a break in an overhead cable and the oncoming train, a Visakhapatnam-Palasa Express service, rammed into it, derailing carriages of the stationary train, a senior railway official said.
Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy ordered immediate relief measures to be taken and asked for ambulances to be rushed from Visakhapatnam and Anakapalli, the nearest districts to Vizianagaram, his office said in a statement.
The minister also issued orders to coordinate other government departments to initiate disaster relief measures.
After the incident, as many as 12 trains have been cancelled, and 15 have been diverted, while seven others have been partially cancelled.
“We have made bus arrangements for passengers so that they are not trapped in the area…We have partially recovered the tracks,”, Sahu told ANI.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced an ex-gratia of Rs200,000 from the PM’s National Relief Fund for the next of kin of each deceased and Rs50,000 for the injured, according to the PMO.
Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 million for the families of the deceased.
Following the accident, Modi on Sunday called upon Vaishnaw and took stock of the situation, according to ANI.
The accident comes just months after India’s state-run railways suffered their worst train crash in two decades, in which 292 people were killed. In that accident, a passenger train hit a stationary freight train, jumped off the tracks, and hit another passenger train coming from the opposite direction.
“There was an overshoot of train 08532 Visakhapatnam-Palasa Passenger with train 08504 Visakhapatnam-Rayagada Passenger, where 3 coaches were involved and about 10 persons were injured,” a South Coast Railway zone official said.