At least 115 dead as train derails in northern India
PUKHRAYAN, India — Rescuers worked through the night to pull people out of mangled coaches after an overnight passenger train derailed early Sunday in northern India, killing at least 115 people, police said.
The death toll was expected to rise because rescue workers had yet to gain access to one of the worstdamaged of the 14 coaches that derailed, said Daljeet Chaudhary, a director general of police. 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 trip. Survivors and bodies were retrieved from mangled coaches that had fallen on their side.
Ramchandra Tewari, a passenger who suffered a head injury, said he was asleep when he was flung to the floor of his coach.
“There was a loud sound like an earthquake. I fell from my berth and a lot of luggage fell over me,” Tewari told reporters from his hospital bed in the city of Kanpur. “I thought I was dead, and then I passed out.”
The cause of the derailment was not 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.
In 2012, an Indian government report said about 15,000 people are killed every year in train accidents in the country.
The derailment occurred near the village of Pukhrayan, outside of Kanpur, an industrial city about 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 845-mile journey in 27 hours.
Rescue workers, soldiers and members of India’s disaster management force reached Pukhrayan within an hour of the derailment and began pulling out people trapped in the over- turned coaches.
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, rescuers moved cautiously because some of the coaches were precariously tilted, and there was a danger that they could topple over, possibly injuring those trapped inside.
“We are being very careful in using the cutting torches,” Chaudhary said.
Medical teams provided 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.
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.
Rescuers search for survivors Sunday in the wreckage of a train that derailed near Kanpur, India. The death toll is expected to climb. Authorities said 150 travelers were injured.