At least five people have been killed and scores injured after an intercity train derailed at Baramchal in Moulvibazar’s Kulaura upazila. Five bogies of Dhaka-bound Upaban Express train, coming from Sylhet, veered off the tracks around 11:40pm on Sunday after a culvert over the Barochhara Canal broke down, according to railway and police officials. Two of the bogies fell into the canal and one of them overturned, while the other bogies remained tilted.The culvert is adjacent to Kala Miar Bazar and only 200 yards away from Baramchal Railway Station. Following the derailment, rail communication between Sylhet and rest of the country has been snapped.
Earlier, around 2am, Fire Service’s Kulaura Station Manager Apen Kumar Singha at the scene had told reporters that six people were killed in the accident. “But we are yet to determine the total number of casualties. We will brief the media after the rescue operation ends,” he said. Moulvibazar’s Superintendent of Police (SP) Md Shahjalal at the time had also given the same death toll and put the number of injured people at more than 250. However, locals who worked overnight with the first responders claimed at least 10-15 people were killed in the accident, creating a cloud of confusion surrounding the death toll. Some of the locals even also wondered why the official death toll was only four.
All the deceased are yet to be identified. Two relief trains from Sylhet and Kulaura arrived at the scene around 4am and were waiting to join the operation and move the wrecked bogies from the tracks.The accident also snapped Sylhet’s rail communications with other parts of the country. Survivors told reporters that the accident likely occurred as the train was overloaded with passengers. People who regularly travel between the capital and Sylhet have been relying on the trains for the past week as repair works on a bailey bridge at Shahbazpur in Brahmanbaria’s Sarail has halted Dhaka-Sylhet bus services.
After visiting the scene, the district’s Deputy Commissioner Md Tofayel Islam told reporters around 3:40am Monday that they were yet to find out the cause of the accident. “We cannot say for sure how this happened until the team of engineers and specialists comes and determines the reason,” he said, when asked whether the overloaded condition of the train led to the accident. “We are waiting for them. An investigation committee is also likely to be formed for this,” he added.Tofayel also said that four bodies were so far recovered from the crash site and taken to Kulaura Upazila Health Complex.
Kulaura-based journalist Sushil Sen Gupta also told Dhaka Tribune that bodies of three women and one man were taken to the health complex around 2:15am. Moulvibazar SP Shahjalal at the briefing also said that they were coordinating with the railway officials to move the derailed bogies of the train quickly to clear the tracks. He added that police were working with the other first responders to successfully end the rescue operation as soon as possible, while ensuring foolproof security at the scene. “There are no more injured or trapped people left here. But we will know for sure whether there have been any more casualties after we move the derailed bogies,” the SP said. Kulaura railway officials said Upaban Express left Syleht at 10pm Sunday. Five of its bogies went off the tracks while crossing the Barochhara Canal culvert.