A Dhaka-bound intercity train from Sylhet, Upaban Express derailed at Baramchal in Moulvibazar’s Kulaura upazila late on Sunday night, killing at least five passengers on the spot.
Five bogies of the seven bogied train veered off the tracks around 11:40 pm after a culvert over the Barochhara Canal broke down, according to railway and police officials.
Two of the bogies fell into the canal and one of them overturned, while the other three bogies remained tilted.
The culvert is adjacent to Kala Miar Bazar and only 200 yards away from Baramchal Railway Station.
Rescuers started searching the bogies for trapped or injured passengers, Habiganj Fire Service and Civil Defence’s Deputy Assistant Director Shimul Md Rafi told reporters at the scene.
He said 11 units were conducting the rescue operation at the scene alongside police and Border Guard Bangladesh personnel, as well as the locals.
“So far, four people have been found dead and five people critically injured,” he confirmed, adding that nearly 100 others were injured and admitted to different hospitals in Kulaura and Moulvibazar.
However, Moulvibazar civil surgeon Shahzahan Kabir Chowdhury confirmed the death of five people, including three women to Bangla Tribune.
Earlier, around 2 am, Fire Service’s Kulaura Station Manager Apen Kumar Singha at the scene had told reporters that six people were killed in the accident.
“But we are yet to determine the total number of casualties. We will brief the media after the rescue operation ends,” he added.
Moulvibazar’s Superintendent of Police (SP) Md Shahjalal at the time had also given the same death toll and put the number of injured people at more than 250.
However, locals who worked overnight with the first responders claimed at least 10-15 people were killed in the accident, creating a cloud of confusion surrounding the death toll.
Two relief trains from Sylhet and Kulaura arrived at the scene around 4 am and were waiting to join the operation and move the wrecked bogies from the tracks.
The accident also snapped Sylhet’s rail communications with other parts of the country.
Survivors told reporters that the accident likely occurred as the train was overloaded with passengers.
People who regularly travel between the capital and Sylhet have been relying on the trains for the past week as repair works on a Bailey bridge at Shahbazpur in Brahmanbaria’s Sarail has halted Dhaka-Sylhet bus services.