More than 120 people have been killed and 850 injured after multiple trains collided in India’s eastern Odisha state, authorities said.
Odisha Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said more than 200 ambulances were dispatched to the spot in Balasore district.
A passenger train is believed to have derailed before colliding with another on a nearby track late Friday.
Indian Railways said two services, Coromandel Express and Howrah Superfast Express, were affected.
Speaking to reporters at the accident site, Odisha Fire Service Officer Sudanshu Sarangi said, “Now we have recovered more than 120 dead bodies.”
He warned that the figures could rise as we complete the process of checking overturned carts.
Mr Jena said earlier that around 850 people were injured and more than 100 additional medics had been mobilized. He said that the rescue operations are going on in full swing.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was heartbroken by the incident and his thoughts were with the bereaved families.
“Rescue operations are underway at the accident site and all possible assistance is being provided to the victims,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Amit Shah termed the incident as “deeply distressing”.
“When the accident happened, 10 to 15 people fell on top of me and everything went haywire. I was at the bottom of the pile,” said one male survivor.
“I got injuries on my arm and the back of my neck. When I came out of the train bogie, I saw that someone had lost an arm, someone had lost a leg and someone had a mutilated face,” the survivor told India’s ANI. news agency.
Several coaches are believed to have derailed from the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express at around 19:00 local time (13:30 GMT), some of which were traveling in the opposite direction.
Another train – Howrah Superfast Express from Yesvantpur to Howrah – is believed to have hit the overturned coaches later.
Indian officials said that a freight train standing at the spot was also involved in the incident. They did not provide further details.
A few surviving passengers rushed to rescue those trapped in the wreckage.
Local bus companies are also helping to transport injured passengers.
The death toll is feared to rise further.
India has one of the world’s largest rail networks and accidents are common despite successive governments investing hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the infrastructure, says Anbarasan Ethirajan, the BBC’s South Asia editor.
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