Train de­rails killing 104; many trapped

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

At least 104 peo­ple were killed when 14 coaches of an overnight pas­sen­ger train rolled off the track in north­ern In­dia early Sun­day, with res­cue work­ers us­ing cut­ting torches to try to pull out sur­vivors, po­lice said. Dal­jeet Chaud­hary, a di­rec­tor gen­eral of po­lice, said the death toll was likely to rise be­cause res­cue work­ers had yet to gain ac­cess to one of the worst-dam­aged coaches. About 150 peo­ple were in­jured, he said. The train de­railed at around 3:10 a.m., jolt­ing awake pas­sen­gers who had set­tled in for the long trip. The bod­ies were re­trieved from man­gled coaches that had fallen on their side. One of the pas­sen­gers, Satish Ku­mar, said the train was trav­el­ing at nor­mal speed when it stopped sud­denly. “It restarted, and then we heard a crash,” said Ku­mar, whose coach re­mained stand­ing on the track. “When we came out of the train, we saw a few coaches had de­railed.” Some of the coaches crum­pled when they crashed into oth­ers, trap­ping hun­dreds of peo­ple in­side. The cause of the de­rail­ment was not im­me­di­ately clear. Ac­ci­dents are rel­a­tively com­mon on In­dia’s sprawl­ing rail net­work, which is the world’s third largest but lacks mod­ern sig­nal­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems. Most crashes are blamed on poor main­te­nance and hu­man er­ror. Res­cue work­ers, sol­diers and mem­bers of In­dia’s dis­as­ter man­age­ment force pulled 104 bod­ies from the wreck­age, said Chaud­hary, in­spec­tor-gen­eral of po­lice in Ut­tar Pradesh state. Res­cuers used cut­ting torches to open the de­railed train cars to try to reach those trapped in­side, while cranes were de­ployed to lift the coaches from the tracks. How­ever, they were mov­ing cau­tiously be­cause some of the coaches were pre­car­i­ously tilted, and there was a dan­ger of the coach top­pling over, pos­si­bly in­jur­ing those trapped in­side. “We are be­ing very care­ful in us­ing the cut­ting torches,” Chaud­hary said. Med­i­cal teams were pro­vid­ing first aid near the site, while the more se­ri­ously in­jured were moved to hos­pi­tals in Kan­pur, Chaud­hary said. Of the roughly 150 in­jured, 72 were in se­ri­ous con­di­tion, he said. The de­rail­ment oc­curred near the vil­lage of Pukhrayan, out­side of Kan­pur, an in­dus­trial city about 400 kilo­me­ters (250 miles) south­east of New Delhi. The Patna-In­dore Ex­press train, link­ing the cen­tral In­dian city of In­dore to the city of Patna to its north­east, com­pletes its 1,360-kilo­me­ter (845-mile) jour­ney in 27 hours. Po­lice were hav­ing a hard time keep­ing away hun­dreds of peo­ple from nearby vil­lages who were the first to reach the ac­ci­dent site. “We have cor­doned off some ar­eas near the coaches to keep peo­ple from ham­per­ing the res­cue ef­forts,” Chaud­hary said. Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi ex­pressed his con­cern over the de­rail­ment. “An­guished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the de­rail­ing of the Patna-In­dore ex­press. My thoughts are with the be­reaved fam­i­lies,” Modi posted on his Twit­ter ac­count.

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