• Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

Dozens of bodies remain unclaimed days after the train crash in India the news

Dozens of bodies remain unclaimed days after the train crash in India  the news

Indian authorities have made an earnest appeal to families to identify dozens of unclaimed bodies kept in hospitals and mortuaries, days after 275 people were killed in the country’s deadliest rail accident in at least two decades.

The disaster occurred on Friday when a passenger train rammed a stationary freight train, derailed and hit another passenger train traveling in the opposite direction near Balasore district in the eastern state of Odisha.

As of Monday evening, about 100 bodies had yet to be identified, a senior state health department official told Reuters news agency.

A man carries an empty coffin at a hospital in Bhubaneswar (Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters)

Al Jazeera’s Um-e-Kulsoom, reporting from the state capital Bhubaneswar, said there was a desperate situation at a medical center in the city where most of the bodies were brought in after the train crash.

“If they (relatives) find a body, they think it’s a relief because it’s a closure,” he said. “They can take the body home and bid a final farewell. For others, the search continues.”

Odisha Health Director Vijay Kumar Mohapatra said authorities were trying to source ice containers to help preserve the bodies.

“Until they are identified, an autopsy cannot be done,” Mohapatra said, adding that as per Odisha state rules, an unclaimed body cannot be autopsied until 96 hours have passed.


The family hopes a DNA test will help

Mohammad Imam-ul-Haq struggles to find his missing brother and claim his nephew’s body from the many corpses lying in a hospital in Bhubaneswar.

Haque’s brother and two nephews were on the Coromandel Express, one of the three trains that crashed into each other at Balasore.

For Haque from the eastern state of Bihar, the tragedy is two-fold. Since her brother is missing, a body she says is that of her 12-year-old nephew is also being claimed by another family.

“We have no option but to do DNA tests to determine whose body it is. The whole process takes really long time. I hope we can claim the bodies soon,” a distraught Haque told Reuters at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhubaneswar’s largest hospital.

“We Muslims, boys are circumcised at birth; However, there is no condition to examine the body,” said Haque, who believed the remains to be his nephew’s.

Senior police officer Pratik Singh told reporters on Tuesday that authorities have taken DNA samples from all the dead bodies in hospitals across the state.

“In cases where there are multiple claimants, we have taken DNA samples from family members and we will preserve the bodies until the DNA matches,” Singh said.

Dilip Kumar Saber and Afoy Shaikh search for pictures of their dead family members as they both try to claim the same body at a hospital in Bhubaneswar (Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters)

The train had passengers from several states and officials from seven states — Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh — were in Balasore to help people claim the bodies of family members and take them home, Singh said.

Meanwhile, distraught families scoured hospitals and mortuaries in search of their loved ones, but the gruesomeness of the bodies made identification a challenge.

At AIIMS in Bhubaneswar, large television screens display images of the dead to help distraught families who flock to hospitals and mortuaries for friends and relatives.

A detailed list of different characteristics was made for each body, but relatives can first look at the pictures to identify missing loved ones, however gruesome, a senior police official told Reuters.

Family members watch as a medical worker hammers nails into a coffin at a hospital in Bhubaneswar (Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters)

The train had passengers from several states and officials from seven states helped claim the bodies of people in Balasore and take them home, the police official added.

Parvati Hembroom, a helpless woman from West Bengal’s Hooghly district, stood near the help desk of the Balasore railway station looking for information about her son Gopal.

The 20-year-old traveled on the Coromandel Express with three others from their village but while the other three returned home, Gopal did not.

Tarapad Tudu, standing with his relative Hembram, said Gopal was admitted to Balasore hospital after the accident but when they looked for him there, the hospital said he was discharged the same day after treatment for minor injuries.

But, panic-stricken Tudu due to lack of communication with Gopal says that he and Hembram will go to Bhubaneswar to find him among the dead.


A team of the Federal Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) reached the spot on Tuesday to probe the cause of the disaster and a separate inquiry by the Railway Safety Commission was launched on Monday.

“The CBI team is on the ground, gathering information about what happened, how it happened and who is behind it,” Al Jazeera’s Um-e-Kulsoom said.

A signal failure was the likely cause of the disaster, according to preliminary investigations, which indicated that the Coromandel Express, southbound from Kolkata to Chennai, veered off the main line and entered a loop track – which is used for parking trains – at 128 km per hour (80 mph). hours), crashed into a stationary freight train.

The accident caused the engine and the first four to five coaches of the Cormondal Express to derail and hit the last two coaches of the Jaswantpur-Howrah train traveling in the opposite direction at 126 kmph (79 mph) on the second main track. .

After relentless efforts to rescue survivors and clean and repair the tracks, trains resumed running on that section of the line on Sunday night.

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