At least six elephants, including two calves, were killed when a train ran over them in Ganjam district on Sunday, forest officials said. A railway attendant who was in the train was also killed.
The mishap took place when a Chennai-bound Coromandel Express from Howrah dashed against the herd passing through the track between Rambha and Guma stations after midnight, Divisional Forest Officer, Berhampur, S S Mishra said. However, the circumstances under which attendant Ranjit Jena died are yet to be ascertained, East Coast Railway (ECoR) said in a statement.
It is suspected that the mishap occurred due to poor visibility caused by fog in the area, forest officials said.
The train which sustained damage, was detained at the spot for some time. The rail traffic between Berhampur and Bhubaneswar was affected for a few hours. ECoR sources said that it took over eight hours to restore normalcy in train services on that route.
Railway officials from Khurda Road division rushed to the spot to clear the track in co-ordination with forest officials, the sources added. The carcasses were lifted in a swift operation in order to ensure resumption of normal rail traffic, a senior forest officer said.
Forest department officials had earlier informed the railway authorities of the movement of elephants in that area.