The crash in the state of Odisha has left nearly 300 dead and hundreds more injured Rescue workers gather around damaged carriages at the accident site of a three-train collision near Balasore, about 200 km (125 miles) from the state capital Bhubaneswar in the eastern state of Odisha, on June 3, 2023. © DIBYANGSHU SARKAR / AFP

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent condolences to Indian President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi following a horrific crash involving three trains in Odisha. Almost 300 people were killed in what was the country’s worst rail disaster in decades.

“We share the grief of those who lost their loved ones in this tragic accident, and wish a speedy recovery for those injured,” read a telegram published on the Kremlin website on Saturday.

The accident in Odisha state’s Balasore district occurred around 7pm (1:30pm GMT) on Friday when a passenger train, the Coromandel Shalimar Express, derailed and hit a cargo train, while another train, the Yesvantpur-Howrah Superfast, crashed into the derailed coaches. The collision left more than 280 people dead and more than 900 injured, fire service director Sudhanshu Sarangi told India Today.

An extensive search-and-rescue operation was launched, involving hundreds of emergency services personnel. On Saturday afternoon, India’s Ministry of Railways said on Twitter that the operation at the derailment site had concluded and repair work had commenced.

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Meanwhile, Prime Minister Modi visited a hospital in Balasore to meet the victims of the accident. He said the government would “leave no stone unturned for the treatment of those injured,” adding that “those found guilty will be punished stringently,” national media reported.

Reuters, citing an initial government report, reported that a possible signal error led to the tragedy. (RT)