15 passengers injured after 5 coaches of Lokmanya Tilak Express derail near Cuttack

(Eds: With fresh inputs) Bhubaneswar, Jan 16 (PTI) At least 15 passengers were injured on Thursday as five coaches of Mumbai-Bhubaneswar Lokmanya Tilak Termnus Express derailed and three more were displaced, after colliding with a goods train amid dense fog near Cuttack in Odisha, officials said.

Railway officials had earlier said that 25 passengers were injured in the incident, but later, officers who reached the site reported that four passengers were found to have suffered major injuries and 11 had received minor injuries.

Passengers with major injuries have been sent to Cuttack Medical College Hospital. All passengers are stated to be out of danger.

A high-level inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the circumstances in which the mishap occurred, a senior official said.

A railway official said the on-duty station manager of Nergundi Railway Station, guard of the goods train, the loco pilot and assistant loco pilot of LTT-Bhubaneswar Express have been suspended till further notice in connection with the accident.

Officials said the accident took place when the passenger train hit the brake van of a goods train around 7 am between Salagaon and Nergundi stations.

There was heavy fog at the site, but it was not clear what led to the mishap, they said.

The speedometer of both the trains have been seized for inquiry, East Coast Railway (ECoR) Spokesperson J P Mishra said.

Senior railway officials rushed to the site soon after the incident and buses were arranged for all remaining passengers to move towards their destination.

Cuttack is around 10-12 km away and Bhubaneswar (Terminating station) is 35 km.

The Commissioner of Railway Safety, South Eastern Circle, Kolkata, will conduct a statutory inquiry commencing from January 18, Mishra said.

The accident disrupted train services in the area.

At least five trains were affected, including the Bhubaneswar-Mumbai LTT Express, the Puri-Rourkela Express and Dhanbad-Bhubaneshwar Rajyarani Express, which have all been diverted via Naraj.

'East Coast Railway acknowledges with deep gratitude help of nearby locals and villagers, who have displayed great humanitarian values and come to the rescue of injured passengers,' Mishra said.

Union Petroleum and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan wished speedy recovery of those injured.

'Pained to learn about the accident of Mumbai- Bhubaneswar LTT Express in Cuttack. Relieved that no lives have been lost in the mishap.

'Rescue operations are underway and all efforts are being made to ensure the safety of passengers. Pray for the early recovery of those injured,' he tweeted. PTI SKN ASG RBT RBT