Wednesday, October 16, 2019

At least four dead as Upaban Express crashes, snaps rail links with Sylhet

  • Bikul Chakraborty, Moulvibazar Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-06-24 01:26:13 BdST

Five coaches of the Dhaka-bound Upaban Express train from Sylhet have come off the tracks in Moulvibazar, killing at least four people and injuring scores.

The accident occurred when the train was crossing a bridge at Baramchal in Kulaura around 11:50pm on Sunday, snapping rail links between Sylhet and the rest of the country, railways officials and locals said.

Intercity Upaban Express left the Sylhet station at 10pm and reached Maijgaon station safely. Then it crossed Bhatera and the five coaches went off the track only after it crossed 200 metres from Baramchal station, said Srimangal Station Master Jahangir Alam.

One of the coaches crashing the culvert fell into a canal and two bogies rolled into the field beside the rail tracks.

At least 11 units of the Fire Service reached the scene and began the rescue operation with the help of the locals. They recovered four bodies from the train, said Mohammed Ali, the divisional deputy director at the Fire Service.  

Three among the dead were women and the other a man, Kulaura Police Station chief Yardous Hasan told 

Resident Medical Officer Dr ‘Zakir’ at Kulaura Health Complex said there were four dead bodies at the government facility from the accident.

They treated 65 people injured in the accident until 3:20am on Monday, the doctor said.

Eighteen of the injured were sent to the Moulvibazar General Hospital and Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital in “critical condition” for life-saving treatment, he added.

Witnesses said they saw a family taking a body away from the scene, but there was no official confirmation.

Earlier, Kulaura Police Station OC Yardous Hasan said the damaged coaches of the train were disconnected from the engine before they fell off the tracks.

Apart from the five damaged bogies, one was seen undamaged at the site.

The seven bogies that crossed the bridge along with the engine safely started for Dhaka about 4am. A rescue train got hold of more five bogies and sent them to Kulaura station in the morning, said Railway Traffic Inspector Md Nurul Islam. “The rest of the bogies fell into the canal or beside the track. The track itself got twisted in many places; all of it will take time to be fixed,” he said.

Trains including Kalni Express, Jayantika Express, Surma Mail, Parabat Express got halted after the accident, according to the Srimangal Station master and Shamser Nagar Station Master Kabir Hossain. Some of the passengers got off the train and tried to reach their destination by alternative ways.

Passengers who regularly travel between Dhaka and Sylhet said the accident occurred perhaps due to high pressure of passengers on the train as repair work on a bailey bridge at Shahbazpur in Brahmanbaria’s Sarail has halted Dhaka-Sylhet bus services.

All the 17 bogies of the Upaban Express were full of passengers, they said.

An injured passenger told that he, along with his brother and father, was in the coach that fell into the canal. The train began to sway after crossing Baramchal making their coach lopsided and falling into the canal after it reached the culvert, he said.

The railway authorities have formed two separate panels to investigate the accident.

Photos and videos believed to be of the scene and posted on social media showed several damaged coaches of a train lying on their sides with at least one compartment overturned as hundreds of onlookers gathered there.