Uttar Pradesh: An Indian express train derailed early Sunday, killing over 100 people in one of India’s worst rail disasters in years, police said, as emergency workers searched the mangled wreckage for survivors.
The disaster is the worst since 2010 when a passenger train crashed into a freight train in the eastern state of West Bengal, killing 146 and injuring over 200.
‘The death toll has topped 100 now,’ said Daljit Singh Chawdhary, the additional police director-general.
Another 150 were injured and rushed to nearby hospitals, which had been placed on high alert after the early morning disaster.
Rescue workers were searching to see if more passengers were still trapped inside the badly mangled coaches of the Patna-Indore express train, Singh said.
Fourteen carriages of the train, travelling between the northeastern city of Patna and the central city of Indore, were thrown off track in Pukhrayan, 65 kilometers south of Kanpur city, according to railway officials.
Local media reports said the train was packed with families, some of them travelling home for weddings. Railway officials said special trains had been pressed into service for stranded travellers.
‘We are also trying to clear the tracks and complete the restoration work as quickly as possible,’ Vijay Kumar, a spokesman for north-central railways, was quoted as saying by AFP.
Suresh Prabhu, India’s Railways Minister, said in a tweet the government would immediately investigate the causes of the derailment and promised accountability with the ‘strictest possible action.’
India’s 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.
The country suffers frequent train derailments, sometimes with tragic consequences, including another train accident in Uttar Pradesh in March last year that killed 39 people and injured 150.