Over 100 killed as Indian train derails
PUKHRAYAN: Emergency workers raced yesterday to find any more survivors in the mangled wreckage of an Indian express train that derailed overnight, killing over 100 people, in the worst disaster to hit the country’s ageing rail network in years.
Many were sleeping when 14 carriages leapt from the tracks in a remote area of Uttar Pradesh state, and shocked passengers recalled being jolted out of their slumber by a violent thud.
“I woke up suddenly around 3.10am and felt a tremor. The train came to a screeching halt,” survivor Yaqoob Ahmed told the Hindustan Times from a hospital in the city of Kanpur.
“All of a sudden, I was crushed under a crowd of people ... everyone was screaming for help.”
Survivors also told of their desperate search for lovedones on the train, which was carrying at least one wedding party with the marriage season in India in full swing.
Hundreds of army and police have been deployed at the scene, where rescue workers used gas-powered metal cutters to slice through severely mangled coaches to try to get to survivors.
“We have been able to pull out 24 people, out of which five were found to be alive,” said Brigadier A. Chhibbar, who is leading the army’s rescue operations.
“We will carry on day and night, till there is any inkling of even a single person being pulled alive.”
Police said over 100 people had been killed and another 150 injured and rushed to nearby hospitals, which had been placed on high alert after the early morning disaster.
It is the worst disaster since 2010 when a passenger train crashed into a freight train in the eastern state of West Bengal, killing 146 and injuring over 200.
Authorities have launched an official investigation into the accident, which junior railways minister Manoj Sinha said may have been caused by damage to the tracks.
India’s railway network, one of the world’s largest, is still the main form of long-distance travel in the vast country, but it is poorly funded and deadly accidents occur relatively frequently. – AFP