KANPUR: The death toll following the derailment of a train in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state has reached at least 120, with more than 175 injured, police say. Fourteen carriages of the Indore-Patna Express derailed just after 03:00 local time on Sunday (21:30 GMT Saturday) near the city of Kanpur. Rescuers are still trying to reach the injured and recover the dead from the twisted carriages. The cause of the crash near the village of Pukhrayan is not yet known. However, Indian media quoted sources as saying a fracture in the track could have been to blame.
The death toll has been rising steadily all day and is expected to increase further. Krishna Keshav, who was travelling on the train, told the media: “We woke with a jolt at around 3am. Several coaches were derailed, everybody was in shock. I saw several bodies and injured people.” Most of the victims were located in two carriages near the engine which overturned & were badly damaged. By late Sunday afternoon, rescue workers were still using heavy machinery to try to reach survivors. Senior railway official Pratap Rai told Reuters: “We are using every tactic to save lives but it’s very difficult to cut the metal carriages.”
The BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder, in Delhi, says rescuers brought out two children alive on Sunday morning, raising cheers from onlookers. One passenger whose carriage did not derail told the Associated Press the train was going at normal speed. It stopped suddenly, said Satish Kumar, then restarted shortly before the crash. Passenger Ruby Gupta, 20, was travelling to Azamagarh to be married on 1 December. She told that most of the people travelling with her had been found but that her father was still missing. She said: “I cannot find my father and I have been looking everywhere for him. I have a fractured arm and my sisters have also sustained injuries.” Many anxious relatives gathered at the station in Indore, where the train began its journey, holding pictures of loved ones, the Times said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families.
India’s worst rail disasters
Bihar, 6 Jun 1981: 250 deaths confirmed as passenger train derails on a bridge and plunges into the Baghmati river. Hundreds more are never found, with an estimated death toll ranging from 500 to 800
Firozabad, 20 Aug 1995: 358 people are killed as an express train hits a stationary express train
Gaisal, Assam, 2 Aug 1999: At least 290 killed as two trains carrying a total of 2,500 people collide
Khanna, 26 Nov 1998: At least 212 killed as a train collides with a derailed train
Rafiganj, 10 Sept 2002: Rajdhani Express derails on bridge, killing at least 130
West Midnapore, West Bengal, 28 May 2010: The Calcutta-Mumbai passenger train derails, killing at least 100. Police blame Maoist sabotage of the track.