Over 100 peo­ple killed in In­dia train de­rail­ment

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

AT least 100 peo­ple were killed and more than 150 in­jured when a train de­railed in north­ern Ut­tar Pradesh, In­dia’s big­gest state, po­lice said.

The train was trav­el­ling be­tween the north­east­ern city of Patna and the cen­tral city of In­dore yes­ter­day when the in­ci­dent hap­pened, throw­ing sev­eral car­riages off the track, ac­cord­ing to rail­way of­fi­cials.

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.

“As we know a ma­jor ac­ci­dent has hap­pened in which the en­tire train turned tur­tle,” Daljit Singh Chawd­hary, the ad­di­tional po­lice di­rec­tor gen­eral of Ut­tar Pradesh state, told AFP news agency.

“A lot of teams are cur­rently there in­clud­ing lo­cal po­lice, doc­tors and mem­bers of the Na­tional Dis­as­ter Re­sponse Force. The res­cue op­er­a­tions are on.”

All lo­cal hos­pi­tals had been placed on alert and around 30 am­bu­lances had been de­ployed to trans­port the in­jured.

In­dia’s Home Min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh said the Patna-In­dore Ex­press train had de­railed near Kan­pur, in north­ern In­dia and that the Na­tional Dis­as­ter Re­sponse Force was over­see­ing the res­cue ef­forts.

Faiz Jamil, re­port­ing from the cap­i­tal Delhi, said the crash hap­pened at around 3AM lo­cal time.

“It hap­pened about 450km south­east of Delhi and the lo­cal res­cue teams have now been joined by the state and na­tional teams. The rail­way of­fi­cials have said they will be look­ing into the cause of the de­rail­ment,” he said.

TV footage showed res­cue work­ers try­ing to cut through se­verely man­gled coaches with suit­cases and other lug­gage strewn around.

Wit­nesses spoke of be­ing wo­ken up by a huge bang and be­ing thrown around.

“We woke up to a great thud this morn­ing. It was pitch dark and the noise was deaf­en­ing,” a pas­sen­ger told re­porters as he waited with his fam­ily at the ac­ci­dent site.

“I am lucky to be alive and safe. But it was a neardeath ex­pe­ri­ence for us.”

Suresh Prabhu, In­dia’s rail­ways min­is­ter, s aid in a tweet that the gov­ern­ment would im­me­di­ately in­ves­ti­gate the causes of the de­rail­ment and promised ac­count­abil­ity with the “strictest pos­si­ble ac­tion”.

In­dia’s creak­ing rail­way sys­tem is the world’s fourth largest, fer­ry­ing more than 20 mil­lion peo­ple each day, but it has a poor safety record, with thou­sands of peo­ple dy­ing in ac­ci­dents ev­ery year.

Ni­tika Trivedi, a stu­dent who boarded the train with her fam­ily, said im­ages of the vic­tims’ bod­ies would long haunt her.

“I had never seen any­thing like this in my life be­fore. I am shaken to the core,” she said.

Anx­ious rel­a­tives thronged the sta­tion in In­dore in cen­tral In­dia where the train orig­i­nated, many clutch­ing pic­tures of their loved ones, and rail­way of­fi­cials said spe­cial trains had been de­ployed for stranded trav­ellers.

Lo­cal me­dia re­ports said the train was packed with fam­i­lies, some of them trav­el­ling home for wed­dings. — Al Jazeera

Res­cue work­ers search for sur­vivors at the site of a train de­rail­ment in Pukhrayan, south of Kan­pur city — Al Jazeera

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