The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Express train slams into freight train, killing at least 40 people in northern India

  • Print

LUCKNOW, India - An express train plowed into a parked freight train in northern India on Monday, killing at least 40 people and reducing cars to heaps of torn and twisted metal, officials said.

The Gorakhpur Express passenger train was travelling at high speed and slammed on its brakes in an attempt to stop, but hit the train sitting on the tracks near a railway station in Uttar Pradesh state, district magistrate Bharat Lal said.

Six of the cars on the express train derailed, with one car with unreserved seating taking the brunt of the impact and accounting for most of the 40 deaths so far counted, senior police officer Amrendra Sainger said.

"It has been reduced to a mangled iron mesh," he said. "We do not know how many people were there." While the car seats 72, such trains are often filled beyond capacity.

Authorities were searching for the station master, who disappeared after the accident in Sant Kabir Nagar, about 220 kilometres (140 miles) southeast of the state capital, Lucknow. But authorities said it was too early to say what had gone wrong and were investigating everything from mechanical failure to human error.

Villagers were the first to reach the scene after the accident about 10 kilometres (6 miles) from the nearest road. Indian TV broadcast images of them assisting the injured amid piles of strewn luggage.

"I was working in the field when I heard the whistle of the engine, and suddenly I heard the sound of a crash. It was a terrible sound . it still reverberates in my ears," villager Ram Chander Chaudhry told news channel Samachar Plus. "Within minutes I reached there and saw the train had been derailed."

Most of the victims were poor farm workers returning to their homes from the neighbouring state of Haryana, local police official Zameer Ahmad said. The train departed from Haryana's Hissar town and was just 46 kilometres (29 miles) from its destination of Gorakhpur when the accident happened.

Because of the remote location, "it was difficult to start rescue operations immediately," Ahmad said. "By the time police and rail officials reached the spot, villagers and other passengers had moved the injured away."

Rescuers worked to free people trapped under toppled cars and debris. The express train's driver died later Monday from serious injuries, while the assistant driver was in critical condition, railway official Alok Kumar said.

Trains were diverted to other tracks to avoid the wreckage.

Narendra Modi, who was sworn in later Monday as India's new prime minister, expressed condolences to the families of the dead in a message on Twitter. "Prayers with the injured," he said.

Accidents are common on India's railroad network, one of the world's largest with 20 million people riding daily on about 11,000 passenger trains. Most accidents are blamed on poor maintenance and human error.

Earlier this month, a train crashed into a jeep at an unmanned railroad crossing in Uttar Pradesh, killing 13 members of a wedding party. Four days earlier, a passenger train derailed, killing at least 19 people just south of Mumbai. Another train derailment last month left dozens injured in the northeast state of Assam.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Tree remover has special connection to Grandma Elm

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060711 Chris Pedersen breeds Monarch butterflies in his back yard in East Selkirk watching as it transforms from the Larva or caterpillar through the Chrysalis stage to an adult Monarch. Here an adult Monarch within an hour of it emerging from the Chrysalis which can be seen underneath it.
  • A female Mallard duck leads a group of duckings on a morning swim through the reflections in the Assiniboine River at The Forks Monday.     (WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press  June 18 2012

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should political leaders be highly visible on the frontlines of flood fights and other natural disasters?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google