Kadalundi train disaster
|Date||22 June 2001|
|Location||Bridge 924, Kadalundi, Kozhikode district, Kerala|
|Rail line||Mangalore-Shornur line|
Kadalundi train disaster is one of the biggest accidents on the Indian railway network in 2001. On June 22, the Mangalore-Chennai mail commuter train heading for Chennai was crossing Bridge 924 over the Kadalundi river near Kozhikode when four carriages derailed and fell into the river. The bridge is situated near Kadalundi railway station in Kadalundi gramapanchayat of Kozhikode district in the state of Kerala.
The death toll for the accident rose steadily as bodies were retrieved from the wreckage over the course of a week, but a figure of 57 people was eventually reported as killed or missing, including at least eight women and two children, whilst between 117 and 300 were injured and transported to nearby hospitals. These figures were still challenged by some, who said the toll was higher and that a number of people were still missing.
The monsoon rains had been very heavy that year, and some believe that this contributed to the problems on the bridge that caused one of the rails to break as the heavy train passed over them. The bridge was 140 years old and in a poor state of repair, and it shifted when the line broke, derailing the train. As it shifted the first four carriages, including the women-only carriage and the engine, fell into the swollen river, two being submerged totally, and two others partially submerged.
Rescue parties, totalling over 500 people from nearby towns, entered the river to rescue people from the wrecked carriages, and support was also received from fire brigades and the Indian Navy, who sent fifty professional divers to attempt to rescue those trapped in the underwater railway cars. Railway officials and family members also arrived rapidly with the aid of a special train.
The enquiry into what actually caused the damage to the bridge was highly controversial, because government investigators concluded that one of the bridge's pillars had sunk into the river, causing an uneven kink in the track, which snapped when the train hit it. Subsequent private investigations have seriously questioned this theory, pointing out that the bridge is damaged on top of the structure in a way which would not be possible if the pillar was unstable. These investigators claim that there was a fault with the train itself or it can be both together, for most of accidents happen due to more than one cause.
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