At least 115 dead as train de­rails in north­ern In­dia

Baltimore Sun - - WORLD - By Ra­jesh Ku­mar Singh

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.

SAN­JAY KANOJIA/GETTY-AFP

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.

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