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India rail disaster: Lack of electronic reporting may be the cause of the tragedy

Was it human error? The Minister of Railways of India announced on Sunday that the cause and perpetrators of India’s largest railway accident in decades have been identified and the electronic signaling system identified. At least 288 people were killed and about 900 injured in hospitals in a three-train collision near Balasore in the eastern state of Odisha on Friday, according to preliminary reports.

“We have established the cause of the accident and the people responsible,” Indian Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnow told news agency ANI on Sunday, adding that it was “inappropriate” to reveal further details until the final report of the investigation.

“Change” in signage

According to the minister, “the cause of the accident is a change that occurred during the electronic lockout,” referring to the complex set of signals that control traffic on the tracks to prevent trains from colliding.

“The culprit and the manner in which the accident occurred will be established after a proper investigation,” he added.

Impact at 130 km/h

Confusion reigns at this stage, but the Times of India, citing a preliminary investigative report, said on Sunday that “human error” could have caused three trains to collide in one of the worst rail disasters in the country’s history.

The Coromandel Express, which connects Kolkata and Madras, received a green light on Friday to run on the main track, but was diverted due to human error on a track that already had a freight train, the paper said.

A passenger train crashed into a freight train at a speed of about 130 km/h. Three carriages fell onto an adjacent track, hitting the back of an express train between Bangalore and Kolkata. It was this collision that caused the most damage, the Times adds, citing a preliminary report.

Source: Le Parisien

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