Friday 2 December 2016

'Anguished beyond words' - At least 90 dead and death toll still climbing following overnight train crash in India

Warning: Graphic photos depicting scenes of injury or death

Published 20/11/2016 | 07:36

Rescuers and people gather at the site where a train derailed in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS
Rescuers and people gather at the site where a train derailed in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS
Injured passengers are seen in a hospital after a train derailed in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS
People gather next to a derailed train in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS
People gather next to a derailed in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS
A police officer instructs people and rescuers at the site where a train derailed in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS
Rescuers move a body at the site where a train derailed in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS TV
Rescuers move a body at the site where a train derailed in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS TV
Police officers and people gather at the site where a train derailed in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS

At least 90 people have died after a passenger train derailed in northern India.

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Rescue workers used cutting equipment to free trapped survivors after 14 coaches left the track near Pukhrayan, a village near the industrial city of Kanpur.

Bodies were retrieved from the mangled, overturned coaches after the train derailed around 3.10am local time, jolting awake passengers who had settled in for the overnight journey.

More than 150 other people were injured as some coaches crumpled when they crashed into others, trapping hundreds of people inside.

People gather next to a derailed train in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS
People gather next to a derailed train in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS

Daljeet Chaudhary, a director general of police, said: "There are people trapped inside. We are being very careful in using the gas cutters."

He said the death toll was likely to rise as rescue workers are yet to gain access to some of the worst-damaged coaches.

A police officer instructs people and rescuers at the site where a train derailed in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS
A police officer instructs people and rescuers at the site where a train derailed in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS

Rescuers used cutting equipment to open the derailed coaches to reach those trapped inside, while cranes were also deployed to lift the coaches from the tracks.

Medical teams were providing first aid near the site while the more seriously injured were moved to hospitals in Kanpur, Mr Chaudhary said. At least two dozen people suffered serious injuries in the crash.

Rescuers move a body at the site where a train derailed in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS TV
Rescuers move a body at the site where a train derailed in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS TV

Passenger Satish Kumar said that the train was travelling at normal speed when it stopped suddenly.

"It restarted, and then we heard a crash. When we came out of the train, we saw a few coaches had derailed," he said.

Police officers and people gather at the site where a train derailed in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS
Police officers and people gather at the site where a train derailed in Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in this still image taken from video November 20, 2016. ANI/via REUTERS

Indian 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," Mr Modi posted on his Twitter account.

Kanpur is a major railway junction and hundreds of trains pass through it every day. Several trains using the line have been diverted to other routes, according to a spokesman for Indian Railways.

Accidents are relatively common on India's sprawling rail network, which is one of the world's largest but lacks modern signalling and communication systems. Most crashes are blamed on poor maintenance and human error.

Trains are the popular mode of transport for millions of Indians and around 23 million passengers use India's vast railway network every day.

The country's worst train accident occurred in 1981 near Saharsa Bihar when a passenger train fell into the Baghmati River, killing nearly 800 people. Several other major train crashes have claimed hundreds of lives since then.

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