Commissioner of Railway Safety to begin probe today

Commissioner of Railway Safety to begin probe today

The Commissioner of Railway Safety (Southern Circle), S K Mittal, is set to officially begin inquiry into Tuesday’s accident of Hampi Express at Penukonda station of Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh, on Thursday.

Loco pilot MY Rathnam (59) and his assistant G Balaraju (43), whose statements are crucial in finding the causes that led to the tragedy, have been discharged from hospital.
 
Shaw G N, Joint General Secretary of the All India Loco Running Staff Association (South Central Railway), said both the pilots were out of danger and had reported to the Guntakal Railway headquarters on Wednesday. Sources in the South Central Railway said Rathnam had injuries on the chest and stomach. Balaraju has similar injuries. 
 
C Sunish, General Secretary of the All India Loco Running Staff Association (South Western Railway), said both pilots would face inquiry and they were expected to come to Bangalore also.

Meanwhile, 23 out of the 25 persons who died in Tuesday’s accident were identified by Wednesday evening. Speaking to Deccan Herald, Anantapur District Coordinator of Health Services, Dr Shivaprakash, said two among the dead were from Andhra Pradesh and the rest from Karnataka.

SWR officials said in 17 of the death cases, in which the immediate kin were identified, a team of railway officials has been deputed to visit their places and hand over the enhanced ex-gratia amount on Thursday.

Help came late

It has now come to light that it took more than 30 minutes for fire fighters to arrive at the accident spot, thus delaying rescue operations.

Chief Ticket Inspector N Thippeswamy said the first fire tender ran out of water soon. By the time the second fire tender arrived, it was too late for the victims stuck in the first coach to be brought out. He said many choked to death due to the smoke.

Even though more fire fighters arrived later, there was a shortage of gas cutters.Anantapur District Collector V Durgadas said it took almost two hours to douse the fire.

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