A signal error is reported to be the cause of a train crash in eastern India that resulted in nearly 300 deaths and hundreds of injuries, Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced Sunday (June 4)
“The change in the electronic interlocking caused this accident and whoever did it and whatever are the reasons will be known after investigation,” Vaishnaw said in an interview with India's ANI news agency at the crash site via NBC News.
The announcement was made as families across India were present at the scene waiting for news of missing loved ones while first responders continued to work through the destruction caused by the overturned railway cars. Officials were also working to restore train service at the crash site amid new concerns about safety and modernization brought on by the accident.
A preliminary report conducted by railway officials obtained by NBC News states that the high-speed Coromandel Express was given a signal to enter the track line, which was later taken off, before it entered another line and crashed into a goods train that was already parked in its path of travel on Friday (June 2). Another train, a Yesvantpur-Howrah Express, then crashed into the overturned trains, which were already flipped onto the main line and derailed following the initial crash.
The passenger trains were carrying 2,296 people and reported to not be speeding prior to the crash. Authorities said at least 275 people were killed and about 400 of the 1,175 injured victims remained hospitalized as of Sunday.