London, June 4 (IANS) Members of the Indian senior men’s hockey team observed a minute silence and prayed for the well-being of the friends and families of people affected by the Odisha train accident tragedy.
The team is currently in England to participate in the FIH Pro League matches against Great Britain and Belgium. It held a minute’s silence before their Pro League game against Great Britain on Saturday. The team also played the match sporting black armbands.
At least 288 people died and over 900 were left injured after the Chennai-bound Coromandel Express and Howrah-bound SMVP-Howrah Superfast Express were involved in the major accident near the Bahanaga Bazar railway station in Odisha’s Balasore on Friday evening.
On Friday evening, 17 coaches of the Coromandel Express and SMVT-Howrah Super Fast Express derailed, leading to one of the worst railway accidents in the country in the last 15 years.
According to the Railways, the Coromandel Express was heading towards Chennai, while the Sir M Visvesvaraya-Howrah Superfast Express was coming towards Howrah with 1,000 passengers.
A senior Railway Ministry official said that the massive accident happened after coaches of Coromandel Express derailed and hit a stationary freight train on one side while some fell on the opposite rail track on which SMVP-Howrah Superfast Express was coming from Yashwantpur side and going towards Howrah.
The SMVP-Howrah Superfast Express hit the capsised coaches and a massive accident took place.
More than 200 ambulances along with 30 buses have been pressed into service, Odisha Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said. He also said that 7 teams of NDRF, 5 teams of ODRAF and 24 fire service units, local police and volunteers kept up the search for survivors and bodies trapped in the heap of mangled coaches throughout the night.
FIH President Tayyab Ikram sent a message on the train tragedy, offering condolences to the families of the victims.
“On behalf of FIH and in my personal name, I’d like to extend the sincerest condolences of the global hockey community to our friends of Odisha after this terrible railway tragedy. Odisha is a very special place for global hockey and our thoughts are with all the families and friends of those who’ve lost their lives and all people injured.
“Our condolences also go to India Prime Minister @narendramodi, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports of India @ianuragthakur and Chief Minister of Odisha @Naveen_Odisha,” he said in the message.
There are many players from Odisha in the Indian men’s hockey team.