Around 100 dead bodies remain unclaimed after the rail disaster in India

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Indian officials made urgent pleas to relatives on Tuesday to assist in identifying more than 100 unidentified corpses housed in hospitals and mortuaries in the wake of the nation’s deadliest rail accident in more than 20 years, which left 275 people dead.

The tragedy occurred on Friday when a passenger train in the eastern state of Odisha crashed into a halted goods train, jumped the tracks, and struck another passenger train traveling in the other way.

Trains started traveling over that portion of the line again on Sunday night after nonstop efforts to find survivors, clear the track, and make repairs.

Around 100 remains had not yet been identified as of Monday night, a senior state health department official told Reuters.

Odisha’s health director, Bijay Kumar Mohapatra, stated that efforts were being made to find cooled containers to assist in preserving the dead.

According to state laws in Odisha, no autopsy may be performed on an unclaimed body until 96 hours have elapsed. “Unless they are identified, a post-mortem cannot be done,” Mohapatra added.

Large television screens at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the largest hospital in the state capital Bhubaneswar, showed images of the deceased to aid frantic families searching hospitals and cemeteries for friends and family.

A senior police officer told Reuters that although families could initially examine the horrifying images to identify lost loved ones, a precise list of identifying traits for each body was compiled.

According to the police officer, officials from seven states, including Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, were in Balasore to assist locals in claiming the remains and transporting the deceased home.

The South-Eastern Circle Commissioner of Railway Safety, A.M. Chowdhary is leading a separate investigation into the tragedy, which was launched on Monday. The Indian Railway Board has suggested that the federal Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) handle the investigation into the catastrophe’s cause.

The CBI team on Tuesday will arrive at the scene and begin their investigation. In a criminal negligence case, the railway police did not identify any suspects.