Hirakhand Express mishap toll rises to 41

Rayagada/Vishakhapatnam: The death toll in the Hirakhand Express mishap went to 41 with the recovery of one more body.

This was informed by Rayagada sub collector to the media today.

Meanwhile, Railway  Safety Commissioner Ram Kripal, on the second day of his investigation into  the Hirakhand Express mishap, today went to the office of the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) in Vishakhapatnam to collect detailed information relating to the tragic incident.

Reports said the investigation is underway in the presence of SS Mishra, Railway Chief Safety Officer and Chandralekha Mukherjee, DRM, East Coast Railway (ECoR)

The Railway Safety Commissioner called on seven officers and 25 staff of Parbatipuram railway station and Kureru-Rayagada section and noted down their statement.

On the first day of his investigation, Ram Kripal had gone to Kuneru where the Hirakhand Express was derailed. Briefing media persons after his return from Kuneru, he had said the preliminary investigation has been completed and he has collected necessary information. He had also said if required, an inquiry commission would be set up for further investigation into the incident.

Along with Ram Kripal, a five-member team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) and DIG of Vishakhapatnam had gone to Kuneru Station to probe into the mishap. The NIA team interrogated the station master, gang men and guards. The team also probed into the possibility of Maoist involvement in the incident.

Prior to its visit to Kuneru, the NIA team had met the injured passengers at the Rayagada district headquarters hospital and collected information about the mishap that took place at 11.15 PM on January 21.

Apart from this, a CID team of Andhra Pradesh police has also begun investigation into the mishap. The team had gone to Kuneru and conducted a preliminary investigation.