Signal Error Likely to Blame for India Train Crash That Killed and Injured Hundreds of People

A total of over 2,200 passengers were onboard the passenger trains when the incident occurred on Friday

<p>AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool</p>

The cause of the three-way train crash that took place in the Indian city of Balasore this week has likely been determined, authorities said.

Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said an error in the electronic signaling system led one train to change tracks and crash into another, leading to the deaths of nearly 300 and the injuries of hundreds more.

“The change in the electronic interlocking caused this accident, and whoever did it, and whatever are the reasons, will be known after an investigation,” Vaishnaw said in an interview with India’s ANI news agency.

At least 275 people were killed, The New York Times reported, citing the state government. The organization had revised an earlier death toll after an official said that some victims had been counted twice. More than 1,100 passengers, meanwhile, were injured.

Overall, a total of over 2,200 passengers were onboard the passenger trains, according to railway officials, the outlet said.

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<p>Press Trust of India via AP</p>

Press Trust of India via AP

Related: At Least 280 People Dead and Hundreds More Injured in Three-Way Train Crash in India: 'Deep Sorrow'

According to Reuters, the collision occurred around 7 p.m. local time on Friday, as the Howrah Superfast Express was traveling from Bengaluru to Howrah in West Bengal, and the Coromandel Express was traveling from Kolkata to Chennai.

A senior state railway official told CNN that the goods train was stopped on a track as the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express entered the track and slammed into it. Then, the Howrah Express derailed after slamming into coaches that were pushed onto the opposite track.

“The Coromandel Express was supposed to travel on the main line, but a signal was given for the loop line instead, and the train rammed into a goods train already parked over there. Its coaches then fell onto the tracks on either side, also derailing the Howrah Superfast Express,” K. S. Anand, the chief public relations officer of the South Eastern Railway, said, per Reuters.

The outlet noted that the collision marked India’s worst rail crash in more than two decades.

<p>AP Photo/Arabinda Mahapatra</p>

AP Photo/Arabinda Mahapatra

Prime Minister Narendra Modi previously wrote on Twitter that he was “distressed by the train accident in Odisha.”

“In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon,” he continued.

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