At least six elephants, including two calves, and a man were killed when a train ran over a herd of pachyderms in Odisha's Ganjam district early on Sunday, forest officials said. The mishap took place when Chennai-bound Coromandel Express from Howrah dashed against the herd passing through the track near Subalaya between Rambha and Guma stations shortly after midnight, Divisional Forest Officer, Berhampur, S S Mishra said on Sunday. The gruesome accident took place despite the forest department officials informing railway authorities of the movement of elephant herds in the area.
Six elephants, including two calves, were killed on the spot after being run over by the superfast train, East Coast Railway (ECoR) said in a statement on Sunday. A bed roll attendant who was on the train, also died in the mishap. However, circumstances under which attendant Ranjit Jena, who was engaged by a contractor, died was yet to be ascertained, it said.
The incident was suspected to have taken place due to poor visibility caused by foggy conditions in the area, forest officials said. The train which also sustained damage, was detained at the spot for some time, while rail traffic between Berhampur and Bhubaneswar was affected for a few hours.
It took over eight hours to restore normalcy in train services on the busy route, ECoR sources said, adding, railway officials from Khurda road division rushed to the spot to clear the track in coordination with forest officials. "The carcasses were lifted in a swift operation in order to ensure resumption of normal rail traffic," said a senior forest officer.
Earlier, forest department officials informed the railway authorities of the movement of elephant herds in the area.