(MENAFN- IANS) New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) Former India captain Virat Kohli, Olympic gold medallists Abhinav Bindra and Niraj Chopra were among several other sportspersons who expressed their grief over the devastating train accident in Odisha's Balasore district, that has killed at least 261 people and injured more than 900.
On Friday evening, 17 coaches of the Coromandel Express and SMVT-Howrah Super Fast Express derailed, leading to one of the worst railway accidents in the country in the last 15 years.
According to the Railways, the Coromandel Express was heading towards Chennai, while the Sir M Visvesvaraya-Howrah Superfast Express was coming towards Howrah with 1,000 passengers.
A senior Railway Ministry official said that the massive accident happened after coaches of Coromandel Express derailed and hit a stationary freight train on one side while some fell on the opposite rail track on which SMVP-Howrah Superfast Express was coming from Yashwantpur side and going towards Howrah.
The SMVP-Howrah Superfast Express hit the capsised coaches and a massive accident took place.
More than 200 ambulances along with 30 buses have been pressed into service, Odisha Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said. He also said that 7 teams of NDRF, 5 teams of ODRAF and 24 fire service units, local police and volunteers kept up the search for survivors and bodies trapped in the heap of mangled coaches throughout the night.
Star batter Kohli, who is in England with the India team for the World Test Championship (WTC) Final against Australia at The Oval from June 7, wished for the speedy recovery of the injured.
"Saddened to hear about the tragic train accident in Odisha. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost their loved ones and wish a speedy recovery to the injured," tweeted Kohli.
India's first individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra said his heart goes out to all those affected and their loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.
"Heartbreaking news from Odisha about the devastating train accident. My heart goes out to all those affected and their loved ones during this incredibly difficult'time. Please, let's all extend our support and prayers to them. May the injured recover swiftly," said Bindra in a tweet.
"Woke up to read the news of the horrific tragedy in Odisha. My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of everyone affected. Om shanti," said Tokyo Olympics medalist Neeraj Chopra, in a tweet.
Meanwhile, former India opener and BJP MP Gautam Gambhir said that he is devastated by the loss of lives.
"Devastated by the loss of lives in Odisha. May god give strength to the families of the victims. Wishing a speedy recovery to those injured. The nation stands with you," tweeted Gambhir.
"Extremely sad hearing about this tragic train accident involving Coromandel Express in Odisha. Condolences to all families who have lost their loved ones and prayers for quick recovery of those injured", wrote Virendra Sehwag in his tweet.
Former India hockey skipper and current federation president Dilip Tirkey also offered his deepest condolences.
"Deeply saddened to hear about the Balasore train accident. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this incredibly difficult time. We stand together in support and offer our deepest condolences," tweeted Tirkey.
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