At least 207 people have died and about 900 have been injured in the accident in the Balasore district of Odisha state, Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said. The accident involved the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train.
State fire department director general Sudhanshu Sarangi warned that the death toll is expected to rise. He said 120 bodies have been recovered and evacuation of the injured has been completed.
The search and rescue operations involved 500 to 600 rescue workers, 50 teams of doctors, 200 ambulances and 30 to 40 buses, the region's chief secretary said. The operation is expected to last through the night.
India train crash: At least 207 people dead and hundreds injured in collision in Odisha Officials say rescuers are attempting to free 200 people feared trapped in the derailed carriages and nearly 500 police officers and rescue workers responded to the accident. pic.twitter.com/SZeF4UhAzy
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that all possible help is being provided to those affected. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the priority was to "take care of the living and get them to hospitals."
According to local reports, the Coromandel Express, which runs from Kolkata in the east to Chennai in southern India, derailed at around 7 p.m. (13.30 GMT) and several carriages fell onto the opposite track.
The Yashwantpur-Howrah Superfast Express, another passenger train traveling in the opposite direction, is believed to have hit the overturned cars. The third train, a goods train, which was parked at the site, was also involved in the accident.
Amitabh Sharma, spokesman for the Indian Railways, said the cause of the accident was being investigated.