How a cricket match caused a train crash that killed 14

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Web Desk
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Hundreds of emergency workers were at the site to clear the wreckage.— AFP
Hundreds of emergency workers were at the site to clear the wreckage.— AFP

The tragic train crash in India's Andhra Pradesh that claimed 14 lives in October was attributed to the train drivers being distracted by a cricket match on their phones, according to India's Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, BBC reported. 

The drivers were reportedly engrossed in the one-day World Cup match between India and England when the accident occurred. The collision, resulting from a missed signal, left dozens injured as the passenger train travelling between Visakhapatnam and Palasa collided with another train.

Vaishnaw expressed concern over the distraction and announced plans for new safety measures to detect and prevent such incidents in the future. 

In a statement, he disclosed, "Both the loco-pilot and co-pilot were distracted by the cricket match." The crash led to the derailment of three carriages, prompting a massive response from emergency services, including ambulances, doctors, nurses, and rescue personnel.

While a preliminary investigation immediately following the incident held the train driver and assistant driver responsible, the official report by the Commissioners of Railway Safety is yet to be released, as reported by the Times of India. 

Minister Vaishnaw highlighted the importance of enhanced safety measures to ensure the full focus of train pilots and assistant pilots during operations.

India, possessing one of the world's largest railway networks with millions of daily passengers, has witnessed several railway disasters over the years. 

The Andhra Pradesh train crash marked the third major incident since June the previous year, following a three-train collision in Odisha that claimed approximately 300 lives. 

Reflecting on India's railway history, the worst disaster occurred in 1981 when a derailment in Bihar resulted in nearly 800 fatalities.

In a recent development, Indian Railways launched an investigation after a freight train travelled over 70km without a driver. Social media footage captured the 53-wagon train speeding through stations before being halted in Punjab by a railway official using wood blocks on the tracks.

Authorities are examining the circumstances surrounding this incident to ensure the safety and integrity of the railway system.