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World & Nation

115 killed as train derails in India; crews work to free trapped passengers

INDIA-TRAIN-ACCIDENT
Rescue workers search derailed train cars near Pukhrayan, India.
(AFP/Getty Images)

Rescue workers raced to free survivors trapped in the wreckage of a passenger train that derailed early Sunday outside an industrial town in northern India, killing at least 115 and injuring about 150 people.

The death toll was expected to rise because rescue workers had yet to gain access to one of the worst-damaged of the 14 coaches that derailed, said Daljeet Chaudhary, a director general of police. About 150 people were injured, he said. 

Fourteen cars ran off the tracks as the express train passed through a village outside Kanpur, a busy junction on one of the world’s largest and most accident-prone railway networks.

The train was traveling from the central city of Indore to the northern city of Patna with about 500 passengers aboard. Television footage showed the train cars smashed against each other and bulldozers removing giant pieces of mangled steel from alongside the tracks.

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Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force deployed to the site along with contingents of army soldiers and medical personnel, Ahmad said.

“There are people trapped under the cars who we are trying to rescue,” he said by phone.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the government would provide $3,000 to each family that lost a member in the crash.

“Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express,” Modi tweeted. “My thoughts are with the bereaved families.”

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Officials declined to speculate on the cause of the crash until an investigation was conducted.

It was one of the deadliest accidents in years on India’s beleaguered railway network, the fourth largest in the world, which carries more than 20 million passengers a day.

Shoddy tracks and a lack of modern signaling equipment are often blamed for accidents.

In 2014, more than 25,000 people died in railway accidents in India, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. That was a 9.2% decrease from the previous year.

Parth M.N. is a special correspondent. Staff writer Shashank Bengali reported from Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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UPDATES:

6:35 a.m.: Updated with higher death toll and revised number of injured.

12:22 a.m.: This article was updated throughout with staff reporting.

10:30 p.m.: Updated with a higher death toll, quotes and background. 

This article was first posted at 10 p.m.


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