At least 288 are dead and around 850 are injured from the collision of two passenger trains yesterday Friday in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, according to the latest official tally, with many of the injured succumbing to their injuries.

Rescue crews today are trying to free many passengers – dead or alive – who are trapped in the wreckage.

Images arriving from international media show overturned carriages, rescue crews working non-stop to free survivors and scores of bodies covered in white cloths next to the train tracks, near Balasore, about 200km from Bhubaneswar. capital of Odisha state.

According to Amitabh Sharma, director of the Indian Railways, “the number of dead and injured is difficult to estimate at this time.”

Trapped under the shapeless masses of ironwork there are “likely” many more passengers.

The director general of the Odisha state fire brigade, Sundhansu Saranji, said that “rescue operations are continuing and will not be completed for many hours,” he added.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “devastated”.

“My thoughts are with the grieving families. I wish the injured a speedy recovery,” Modi tweeted, adding that he had spoken to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnau to “take stock of the situation”.

India has had many major train accidents in the past, but railway safety has improved significantly in recent years thanks to massive investment and improving technologies.

The worst railway accident in Indian history occurred on June 6, 1981 when a passenger train derailed in the state of Bihar and seven carriages fell from a bridge into the waters of the Bagmati River, killing 800 to 1,000 people.

Also on November 20, 2016, the Patna-Indore express train carrying 2,000 people derailed early in the morning in a rural area in the state of Uttar Pradesh while most of the passengers were sleeping. At least 146 people were killed and around 180 were injured.