In India, at least 275 people were killed and over 1,000 injured in the eastern state of Odisha Friday when a packed passenger train crashed into an oncoming freight train, causing another passenger train to derail. The number of victims could rise as more bodies are identified. One 55-year-old survivor witnessed her daughter perish in the disaster.
Koshida Das: “My daughter got buried under bulky iron right in front of my eyes. I managed to stand in a corner, but I was hit in the head by some iron rod or something. I thought about how to get my daughter out from underneath the iron but didn’t know how to move such heavy iron. My daughter kept crying and died right in front of my eyes.”
Authorities say an electronic signaling system failure appears to be at fault, as they start their investigation into one of the deadliest rail disasters in decades. Many of the passengers were students or migrant and day laborers. The tragedy has put the safety of India’s rail system, which carries some 8 billion passengers a year, in the spotlight. While India has made substantial investments into its transportation infrastructure, spending on track maintenance and other security measures has decreased.