Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu has sent a condolence message to the government and people of India over a multiple train crash in the country which killed over 280 passengers.
The fatal crash involving two passenger trains and a goods train in the Indian city of Balasore, in the eastern state of Odisha, occurred on Friday.
Wreckage debris was piled high at the crash site near Balasore, in the eastern state of Odisha, where some carriages had been tossed far from the tracks and others flipped over entirely.
Smashed train compartments were torn open in the impact late on Friday, leaving blood-stained holes in their sides.
Aside those killed, over 900 others were injured in what was one of the worst rail crashes in recent history.
The disaster began when an express train running north from India’s tech hub Bengaluru to Kolkata derailed, falling onto the adjacent southbound track.
Minutes later, the Coromandal Express heading from Kolkata to Chennai smashed into the wreckage, some of its coaches also colliding with a goods train parked nearby.
Researcher Anubhav Das was in the last carriage of the second train when he heard “screeching, horrifying sounds coming from a distance”.
Tinubu described the train accident as heartrending while consoling the Indian government and families of the victims.
“My heart goes to the families of those affected in the unfortunate and heartrending train crash in the Indian State of Odisha.
“We stand with India in brotherhood at this difficult time. The magnitude of the crash and the high casualty figure call for global support for India to adequately respond to this calamitous accident.
“I send my deepest sympathy and condolences to His Excellency Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the people of India and the families of those trapped in the crash,” the President said.
One passenger train derailed on to the adjacent track and was struck by an incoming train on Friday, also hitting a nearby stationary freight train.
A massive recovery operation is under way, after hundreds of emergency workers searched the wreckage.
The cause of India’s worst train crash in over 20 years is not yet clear.
Officials say several carriages from the Coromandel Express, travelling between Kolkata and Chennai derailed in Balasore district after hitting a stationary goods train.
Several of its coaches ended up on the opposite track.
Another train travelling in the opposite direction – the Howrah Superfast Express travelling from Yesvantpur to Howrah – then hit the overturned carriages.
“The force with which the trains collided has resulted in several coaches being crushed and mangled,” Atul Karwal, chief of the National Disaster Response Force said.
More than 200 ambulances and hundreds of doctors, nurses and rescue personnel were sent to the scene, the state’s chief secretary Pradeep Jena said.