Sambalpur: In a tragic incident, a tusker was killed after it was run over by Puri-Surat Express train near Bhabanipali between Hatibari and Maneswar Railway stations under Sambalpur division late last night.
As many as six wheels of the train engine derailed following the accident. However, passengers on-board and the railway crew members including the loco pilots are safe.
The Surat-bound special train departed from Hatibari station in Sambalpur at around 1.55 AM on Monday and the incident took place at around 2 AM, officials said.
Sources said the train was moving at a speed of around 50 km/h, when the tusker crossing the rail tracks came in front of the express train.
Following the accident, railway communication on the route has been disrupted. Puri-Durg Express has been stopped at Jujumara station while Koraput-Bhubaneswar Express is stranded at Sambalpur station.
Later, the Accident Relief Train (ART) rushed to the spot and pulled all coaches of the Puri-Surat Express train to the Hatibari station.
Being informed, Sambalpur Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Pradeep Kumar reached the spot and launched an inquiry. A few senior forest officials including Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sanjit Kumar also reached the spot and recovered the carcass of the animal for post-mortem.
“The railway authorities had been cautioned regarding the elephants’ movement. Sign boards mentioning elephant movement area have also been put up near the railway track. What circumstances led to such accident is being investigated. The age of the elephant could only be confirmed after the post-mortem. But, the animal is appeared to be an adult”, said the DFO.
The rescue and relief team of Railways have also reached the site and started operation to clear the track, sources said, adding that the train will resume its service after track clearance.