At least 288 people were killed and more than 850 injured in a horrific three-train collision in India, officials said on Saturday, the country's deadliest rail accident in more than 20 years.
Images from the crash site showed smashed train compartments torn open with blood-stained holes near Balasore, in the eastern state of Odisha.
Carriages had flipped over entirely in the crash late on Friday and rescue workers searched for survivors trapped in the mangled wreckage, with scores of bodies laid out under white sheets beside the tracks.
As dawn broke on Saturday, rescue workers were able to see the full extent of the carnage.
Sudhanshu Sarangi, director general of Odisha Fire Services, said that the death toll stood at 288.
India is no stranger to railway accidents and has seen several disasters, the worst of them in 1981, when a train derailed while crossing a bridge in Bihar and plunged into the river below, killing between 800 and 1,000 people.
But Friday's crash is believed to be the worst since the 1990s.
Odisha state's chief secretary Pradeep Jena confirmed that about 850 injured people had been sent to hospitals following the crash, which took place around 200 kilometres from the state capital Bhubaneswar.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "distressed by the train accident."
"In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon", Modi said on Twitter, adding that he had spoken to railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to take "stock of the situation." (AFP)