As the entire nation is mourning for the lives that were lost in what has become one of the deadliest train accidents that occurred in Odisha last Friday, the condition of the loco pilots of one of the trains crashed has come to light amidst the ongoing probe. Last Friday, Balasore district in Odisha witnessed a tragic triple-train collision where two passenger trains and a freight carrier crashed each other and killed 278 people.
While one passenger train was a Coromandel Express that was running from Howrah to Chennai, the another was Bengaluru-Howrah express. The collision occurred at around 7.30 pm on Friday near Bahanaga Bazar station in Odisha after the Coromandel Express wrongly entered the loop line in a speed of about 120 km per hour and collided on a goods train that was in stationary.
The coaches of the Coromandel Express had derailed and scattered on the track on the other side where the Bengaluru-Howrah express was approaching at high speed. The train eventually crashed on the coaches and collapsed. The horrific accident still haunts the nation and while it killed 278 people, it had injured a thousand. As the train services at the accident site resumed on Sunday after repairing the tracks, the state of the loco pilots of the Coromandel Express has come to light.
The loco pilots were in the front during the encounter of a fatal crash and they had sustained brutal injuries. The loco pilot of the Coromandel Express was identified as Gunandhi Mohanty, while the assistant loco pilot was Hajari Behera and they both had suffered injuries. They were rushed to a private hospital in Bhubaneswar and it has now come to the revelation that their health conditions are stable and they continue to be under the observation.
According to IANS, South Eastern Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer Aditya Kumar Choudhury said that both Mohanty and Behera are stable and out of danger. The railway officials have inquired them about the accident and they had given their preliminary statements. Along with them, the guard of the goods train is also stable. On Monday, the Odisha government said that most of the injured people have been discharged from the hospitals.
Earlier, Railway Board member Jaya Varma Sinha said that the pilot of the Coromandel Express moved forwards to the loop line as there was a green signal. Sinha said, "We have spoken with the driver and he confirmed that the signal was green. Our staff is dedicated and works with dedication. He neither had passed when the signal was red nor was overspeeding. The driver sustained severe injuries and he said that the signal was green."
The Government Railway Police had filed an FIR in the fatal accident against unknown persons under sections 337 - causing hurt, 338- causing grievous hurt, 304A - causing death by negligence, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, and sections 153 - endangering safety of persons travelling by railway by wilful act or omission, 154 - endangering safety of persons travelling by railway by rash or negligent act, and 175 - endangering safety of persons of the Railways Act.
The FIR was filed based on a complaint from Balasore Sub-Inspector Papu Kumar Naik. On Monday, Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety Shailesh Kumar Pathak visited the accident site and asserted that Indian Railways Safety's South-Eastern Circle has initiated their independent inquiry into the train accident. He said, "Commissioner of Railway Safety South-Eastern Circle has initiated their independent inquiry and as soon as the report will be completed, we will share the details. It is impossible and not correct to say anything with completion of the inquiry."