India's train crash: People still waiting to receive dead bodies of their loved ones

Families of the victims involved in India’s deadliest train crash in decades have gathered at a hospital in Bhubaneswar city to identify and claim the bodies of their loved ones. The tragic incident claimed the lives of 275 people, prompting railway officials to recommend the country’s premier criminal investigating agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), to probe the crash.

Distraught relatives lined up outside the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Odisha, where survivors of the accident were also receiving treatment. The survivors, still grappling with the horrors they had experienced, struggled to comprehend the magnitude of the disaster.

Outside the hospital, large screens displayed photos of the victims, their faces disfigured and charred, making them barely recognizable. Each body was assigned a number, and families anxiously watched as the images rotated, searching for any identifying details, such as clothing, to assist in the identification process.

Many family members recounted arduous journeys spanning multiple trains, buses, or rented cars from neighboring states, desperate to locate their missing relatives. The gruesome nature of the injuries prolonged the identification process, which extended into a third day.

Out of the 275 victims, only 45 bodies have been identified so far, with 33 of them handed over to their families. Mayur Sooryavanshi, an administrator overseeing the identification process, expressed the challenges faced due to the severity of the injuries.

One grieving father, Upendra Ram, traveled approximately 850km (520 miles) from Bihar state in search of his son, Retul Ram. Exhausted from the day-long journey by rented car, Ram identified his 17-year-old son around noon on Monday. Retul, who had dropped out of school, was on his way to Chennai in search of work to support his family.

Investigations into the crash suggest a signaling failure as a possible cause of the three-train collision, marking one of the deadliest rail disasters in India’s history. In response, authorities have recommended that the CBI conduct an investigation into the incident.

After two days of repair work, partial train service resumed on the tracks, allowing some semblance of normalcy to return. Hundreds of workers, aided by excavators, removed the mangled train coaches from the site of the accident.

As the affected families grapple with immense grief, the investigation into the crash aims to shed light on the circumstances and factors contributing to this devastating tragedy.

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