India train derails, at least 122 killed, more than 150 injured

November 20, 2016 | By | Reply More

At least 122 people were killed and more than 150 injured when an Indian express train derailed in northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, with the toll set to rise amid a scramble to locate survivors.

India train derailsPolice officials said people were still missing as authorities tried to determine what caused 14 carriages of the train traveling between the northeastern city of Patna and the central city of Indore to suddenly roll off the tracks in Pukhrayan, 65 km south of Kanpur city.

Authorities said they were checking the condition of the tracks but would need to look further before concluding the cause of the derailment, India’s deadliest rail tragedy since more than 140 died in a 2010 collision in West Bengal.

Desperate survivors searched for family members and some tried to enter the damaged carriages to rescue relatives and collect belongings, said senior railway official Pratap Rai.

“We are using every tactic to save lives but it’s very difficult to cut the metal carriages,” he said from the accident site.

With rescue teams still looking for victims amid the wreckage, the toll from the derailment could rise to become India’s worst rail tragedy in this century.

India’s creaking railway system is the world’s fourth largest. It runs 11,000 trains a day, including 7,000 passenger trains carrying more than 20 million people. But it has a poor safety record, with thousands of people dying in accidents every year, including in train derailments and collisions.

Suresh Prabhu, India’s railways minister, said in a tweet that the government would investigate the causes of the derailment and promised accountability with the “strictest possible action”, as well as compensation for the affected passengers.

The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin had contacted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and “passed on words of sympathy and support to the relatives and loved ones of the dead and wished a fast recovery of the injured.”

MANGLED CARRIAGES

The packed train, operated by the government, derailed in the early hours of Sunday when more than 500 passengers were sleeping, survivors said.

TV footage showed mangled blue carriages, with crowds of people and police on top of the wreckage searching for survivors. One carriage was almost lying on its side and appeared to have been completely torn apart.

Rescue officials with yellow helmets worked their way through the crowds, carrying victims from the wreckage as teams struggled to remove the derailed wagons from the tracks, one of the main transportation routes for goods and passengers in northern India.

“Suddenly I could feel that the carriage was overturning. I immediately held the metal rod near the bathroom door,” said Faizal Khan, who was traveling with his wife and two children, all of whom survived the accident.

Another survivor, Rajdeep Tanwar, said. “I can see bodies lying near the tracks, everyone is in a state of shock. There is no water or food for us.”

Rescue teams said they would conclude the search operation before night fall and resume it on Monday. Nearby villagers set up temporary kitchens and erected tents for survivors and officials.

Press journalist for HROmedia – Saurav Nag reports.

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Category: International

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