Blame game in fatal train crash

2010-07-20 12:41
Unidentified relatives look at the photographs of dead and injured victims of India's train crash victims, outside a morgue at Birbhum district. (Bikas Das, AP)

Unidentified relatives look at the photographs of dead and injured victims of India's train crash victims, outside a morgue at Birbhum district. (Bikas Das, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kolkata - A probe into a rail crash in eastern India that claimed more than 60 lives focused on Tuesday on why a packed express train hurtled at high speed into a station where it was scheduled to halt.

The express roared into Sainthia station in West Bengal state at 90km/h early on Monday and slammed with enormous force into the rear of a stationary train waiting to leave the platform.

More than 160 people were injured and two of them died overnight, raising the overall death toll to 63.

Speculation and looming state elections in West Bengal produced a host of theories in the immediate wake of the crash, as the potential for blame was shifted between politicians and railway officials.

Indian Railway Board chairperson Vivek Sahay suggested that human error was the most likely cause, saying the express driver had ignored a stop signal and then failed to reduce speed as he approached the station.

"Why was the train travelling so fast? The driver didn't even touch the brakes or the emergency brakes," Sahay told reporters.

Technical failure possible

With the express hurtling towards them, officials at Sainthia station issued frantic warnings over the public address system, telling those on the platform to run for safety.

Retired train drivers interviewed by several Indian newspapers questioned Sahay's version of events, saying the fact that neither the driver nor his assistant attempted to apply the brakes suggested a signal failure or other technical malfunction.

Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee had initially raised the possibility of sabotage, a move her opponents said was aimed at deflecting criticism for a recent spate of train accidents on her watch.

Banerjee has come under pressure for neglecting her ministerial duties in order to concentrate on the May 2011 polls in her home state of West Bengal where she is aiming to end more than three decades of Marxist rule.

"Shunt Her Out" was the front page verdict of the Mail Today newspaper, while an editorial in The Hindu said Banerjee was "clearly not up to the job of ensuring safety on the tracks".

West Bengal Civil Defence Minister Srikumar Mukherjee, an arch rival of Banerjee's, ridiculed her hints at possible sabotage.

"The tragic accident took place because of negligence on the part of the railway administration," Mukherjee said.
 

- SAPA
Read more on:    india
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.