Bangladesh, head-on collision between two trains: 16 dead and 100 injured

Intercity trains travelling on the same track. The collision occurred in the middle of the night, perhaps due to human error. The country is often marked by rail disasters. The government has allocated compensation for victims and wounded.

Dhaka (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The death toll from Bangladesh, where two trains crashed in a head on collision in the Mandbagh area in the Brahmanbaria district, is of 16 confirmed dead and over 100 injured. The collision occurred around 3 am this morning, for reasons yet to be ascertained. The investigators do not rule out that it was a human error, in a country often marked by rail accidents.

The two intercity trains were travelling on the same track: the first - of the "Udayan Express" type - towards the southern port of Chattogram, the second of the "Turnanishita" model bound for Dhaka. In the clash three carriages were crushed. Mohammad Moslem, a 50-year-old witness, says: "When I left the train, I saw corpses without heads, without legs, without hands." The man, who was traveling by train to the port, adds: "We were so close to death, but Allah saved us".

At the time of the crash most people were sleeping and would not have noticed what was going to happen. After the collision, another witness in the capital says, "people were screaming everywhere."

According to local police officer Shayamal Kanti Das, "one of the trains may have violated the [transit] signals, causing the tragedy."

In the country there are often train accidents, due both to the poor supervision of the tracks and to the lack of effective coordination between the station heads who give the green light signal. Official data from the Railways report that between 2007 and 2017 there were 2,786 accidents, which caused 365 deaths and left 1,181 people injured.

Premier Sheikh Hasina and President Abdul Hamid expressed deep sorrow for the victims and pray for a speedy recovery of the wounded. Hasina has ordered local administrators to provide all the necessary support for the body recovery operations and the transport of the wounded.

Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan has allocated 100,000 taka (1,069 euros) in compensation for each victim, in addition to 25,000 taka (270 euros) for funerals. Instead the wounded will receive 10 thousand taka (107 euros) for medical treatment.

(Photo credit: Dhaka Tribune)

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