Five members of a family died and four others, including a minor, sustained critical injuries when an express train hit the vehicle by which they were travelling at an unmanned level-crossing in Dhenkanal district, about 60 km from here, on Wednesday.
The injured were shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital after the Dhenkanal district headquarters hospital referred them to the Cuttack hospital. Doctors attending on the injured said that all of them were stable although their condition was stated to be critical.
Reports reaching here said that the family members of one Arun Tripathy of the locality were travelling in an SUV to a nearby religious place when the accident occurred. The vehicle was reportedly dragged by Puri-Rourkela Tapaswini Express for about hundred metres as a result five persons, including the driver, died on the spot.
Sources said the unmanned level-crossing was recently fitted with a gate but it has not been made operational. “Drivers from outside often confuse with the situation believing that no train would be approaching since the gate is open,” said a local adding that several accidents occurred on the spot in recent past.
Soon after the accident, locals staged a dharna demanding that the level-crossing gate should be made operational immediately.