In pictures: India's devastating train crash
After one of the worst train accidents in Indian history, relatives are trying to identify victims as hundreds of people work to clear mangled wreckage. Meanwhile, attention has been focused on railway safety standards.
On Friday evening, three trains were involved in a massive derailment in a rural area in Balasore district, some 200 kilometers (125 miles) southwest of Kolkata. Initial findings as to the cause of the accident have pointed to a signaling problem, local media reported.
No more survivors expected
The scale of the disaster is staggering: At least 275 people were killed, wreckage is everywhere and tracks are destroyed. Friday's crash is one of the worst train accidents in India's history. With rescue efforts now complete, hundreds of people are now working to clear the accident site. Rescue workers at the scene are not expecting to find any more survivors.
Days of clearance work ahead
The goal is to complete the clearance work by Wednesday, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told Indian news agency ANI on Sunday. He also said a high-level probe would be carried out to find out the cause of the accident.
Identifying the victims
Meanwhile, family members have been trying to identify the victims, some of whom were very disfigured, reported The Times of India. In the sweltering heat, many of the bodies have already been transferred to larger cities. Some victims will only be able to be identified with DNA tests.
3 trains involved in crash
According to local reports, 10 to 12 coaches of one passenger train derailed, spreading debris onto a nearby track. Another passenger train crashed into the debris, causing three coaches on that train to derail. A third train carrying freight was also involved.
Train crashes frequent
India, the world's most populous country with around 1.4 billion people, has one of the world's largest railway networks. In recent years, the government has significantly invested in train travel, aiming to modernize it. However, the network is still made up of many aging trains and track systems, and accidents are frequent.
High casualties relatively rare
But such high casualty figures have become rare. Friday's accident has reignited a debate about the safety of India's railway network. Meanwhile, world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, have expressed their condolences. "Jill and I are heartbroken by the tragic news of the deadly train crash in India," Biden said on Saturday, speaking also on behalf of his wife.