India’s railway minister announced on Sunday that the cause and perpetrators of India’s worst train accident in decades have been identified, while pointing to the electronic signaling system. “We have identified the cause of the accident and those responsible for it,” Indian Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnav told news agency ANI on Sunday, adding that it was “not appropriate” to divulge more details before the final investigation report.
At least 288 people are reported to have died after three trains collided near Balasore in Odisha state in the country’s east on Friday.
According to the minister, “the change in electronic interlocking is at the root of the accident”, referring to the complex signals that manage traffic on the tracks to prevent trains from colliding.
He said that the culprit and the manner of the accident will be known only after a proper investigation.
There is confusion at this point but The Times of India, citing a preliminary investigation report, said on Sunday that “human error” may have caused the collision between the three trains.
The Coromandel Express connecting Kolkata to Madras was given the green light to run on the main line on Friday, but was diverted due to human error on the track where a freight train was already present, the newspaper said.
Then the passenger train collided with the freight vehicle at a speed of about 130 kmph. An express train running between Bengaluru and Calcutta collided with the rear, causing three coaches to fall onto adjacent tracks. The collision caused the most damage, the Times said, citing an initial report.
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