Tragic Train Accident in India Leaves Families Struggling to Identify Victims
The recent train accident in India has left families of the victims desperately trying to identify their loved ones. In the city of Bhubaneswar, relatives of the deceased passengers gathered at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Monday (June 5, 2023) in an attempt to identify the bodies. Meanwhile, survivors who were being treated in various hospitals are still trying to come to terms with the horrifying disaster they experienced.
Outside the hospital, two large screens were set up displaying photographs of the deceased. Unfortunately, many of the victims' faces were unrecognizable due to blood and burns. Each body was assigned a number, and the relatives scanned the screen, hoping to find any clues such as the clothing worn by the victims. Many of them had traveled from neighboring states, spending several days to reach the collection site. They arrived by train, bus, or rented cars to identify and claim the bodies.
According to Mayur Sooryavanshi, an official overseeing the identification process at the hospital in the state capital of Odisha, located 200 kilometers from the accident site in Balasore, only 45 bodies have been identified so far, with 33 of them already returned to their families, as quoted by the Associated Press (AP) on Monday.
Heartbreaking Stories of the Victims' Families
Upendra Ram shared his experience of searching for the body of his son, Retul Ram, on Sunday (June 4, 2023), after traveling 850 kilometers from the neighboring state of Bihar. Ram had rented a car for 35,000 rupees (approximately $6,200) and the exhausting journey took him the whole day. His son, Retul (17), was on that ill-fated train heading to Chennai in search of employment. After hours of looking at the photos of the deceased, Ram finally managed to identify his son's body on Monday (June 5, 2023) afternoon. "I will die remembering this. I will die here if I don't manage to bring his body back. I want to return to my village with his remains," said Ram. He mentioned that Retul had dropped out of school to support his family financially. "His mother, his sister, and the rest of the family haven't stopped crying for the past two days, urging me to come back with his body," he added, wiping away tears with a red scarf tied around his head.
The train accident on Friday has become one of the worst rail accidents in India's history. Investigators suspect signaling failure may have been the cause of the accident.
The incident occurred when a passenger train collided with a freight train, derailing on the tracks before being hit by another passenger train coming from the opposite direction on a parallel track. The collision involved two passenger trains, namely the Coromandel Express traveling from Howrah in West Bengal to Chennai in Tamil Nadu, and the Yesvantpur-Howrah Superfast Express traveling from Bengaluru in Karnataka to Howrah. Indian authorities have recommended that the Central Bureau of Investigation, responsible for investigating major crimes, open an inquiry into the accident.