Biden 'heartbroken' by deadly India train crash

 June 5, 2023

President Biden said he is "heartbroken" by the train crash in India this weekend that killed nearly 300 people.

The incident ranks as one of the worst train accidents in India's history.

“Jill and I are heartbroken by the tragic news of the deadly train crash in India,” Biden said in a statement. “Our prayers go out to those who have lost loved ones and the many who suffered injuries in this terrible incident.”

India struck by disaster

At least 275 people were killed and roughly 1,000 were injured in the double train derailment in the Indian state of Odisha.

“The United States and India share deep bonds rooted in the ties of family and culture that unite our two nations—and people all across America mourn alongside the people of India,” Biden added on Saturday. “As the recovery effort continues, we will hold the people of India in our thoughts."

Authorities say there may have been an issue with the electronic signaling system.

Train accidents are a frequent problem in India, with an estimated 16,000 people dying from them in 2021 alone.

PM responds

India's prime minister Narendra Modi had planned to inaugurate a new high-speed rail connecting Mumbai and Goa on Saturday, but he cancelled in order to attend to the crash.

The leader promised to punish those responsible for the disaster, the cause of which remains under investigation.

"We can’t bring back those we have lost but the government is with them (families) in their grief. This incident is very serious for the government…Whoever is found guilty will be punished severely,” Modi said.

Modi said he was "deeply moved" by the support from leaders over the world.

Rickety infrastructure

Modi is making an effort to modernize India's railway system, which is one of the world's largest -- and oldest, with much of the infrastructure dating to the British colonial era.

It's a massive challenge for a country that recently overtook China to become the world's most populous nation, with more than 1.42 billion people.

More than 8 billion passengers ride India's trains each year.

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