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Pilots were watching cricket when trains crashed: Railway minister

Published:

VISAKHAPATNAM

: The two drivers of a train were engrossed in watching a cricket match on their phones when it rear-ended another passenger train in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh on October 29 last year, resulting in the loss of 14 lives, according to railway minister

Ashwini Vaishnaw

.
He referred to the Vizianagaram accident while speaking in New Delhi on Saturday about new safety measures for the railways.

Vaishnaw said: “Now we are installing systems that can detect any such distractions and make sure that pilots and assistant pilots are fully focused on running the train.”
The minister reiterated the railways’ commitment to safety and pledged to investigate the root cause of accidents to prevent future occurrences.

The accident occurred when the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger train overshot a signal and collided with the Visakhapatnam-Palasa passenger train, which had reportedly slowed down, between Kantakapalle and Alamanda. The

Rayagada

train’s driver, his assistant, and the guard of the Palasa train, were among those killed, while around 50 passengers were injured.
Following the accident, railway authorities suspected human error as the likely cause of the collision, but did not rule out other possibilities. A preliminary investigation found the Rayagada train drivers ignored two defective automatic signals, thus violating safety regulations.

Survivors recalled experiencing sudden jerks as the train applied its brakes before the collision. The Rayagada train was traveling at a speed of around 80kmph. A committee conducted an inquiry into the collision, with the report awaited.

Andhra Pradesh: Three rear coaches damaged after two passenger trains collided in Vizianagaram, at least 10 injured

This was the third big train accident since June 2 last year when Coromandel Express crashed into a stationary freight train in

Odisha

‘s Balasore, leading to the loss of 296 lives and 1,200 suffering injuries. On Oct 11, five passengers died and 30 were injured when the Delhi-Kamakhya North East Express derailed in Buxar district of Bihar.

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