At least 32 killed, 50 injured as train derails in India
UPDATED at 2:20 pm
NEW DELHI: An overnight passenger train derailed in southern India, killing at least 32 people and injuring 50 others in the latest accident to hit the country's massive, disaster-prone rail network.
Seven coaches of the Hirakand Express were thrown off the tracks around midnight Saturday, some landing on a goods train that was on a parallel track, said Divisional Railway manager Chandralekha Mukherji.
Rescue workers were trying to cut open the mangled coaches Sunday morning near the Kuneru railway station in the Vizianagram district of Andhra Pradesh state. The train was traveling between Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh state to Bhuvaneshawar in Orissa.
JP Misra, the chief press officer of the East Coast Railways, said that the toll could rise further as many people were still trapped. An investigation is underway.
In November, 146 people were killed when a packed passenger train derailed near the town of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh in the deadliest rail accident in the country in at least five years.
India's railway system is the world's third largest, but is severely hampered by a lack of modern signaling and communication systems as well as poor maintenance of tracks and equipment. Manual signaling is still used at several places, raising the risk of human error.
According to a government report in 2012, about 15,000 people are killed every year in train accidents. The worst occurred in 1981, when a train fell into the Baghmati River in northern India, killing nearly 800 people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged last year to invest $137 billion over the next five years to modernise the railway network, which is used by about 23 million passengers a day.
On Sunday, Modi tweeted his condolences for those killed in the most recent accident and said that the railway ministry was monitoring the situation closely.
At least 26 killed as Indian train derails
MUMBAI: At least 26 people were killed and 50 injured on Saturday night when nine coaches of a passenger train derailed in eastern India, in the latest disaster to hit the vast and accident-prone state railways, police said.
The express train from Jagdalpur to Bhubaneswar derailed near Kuneri station, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, around 30 km (18 miles) outside the town of Raigarh.
"Nine bogies were derailed of which three have turned and fallen off the track," said local Superintendent of Police L.K.V. Ranga Rao. "Most of the casualties and deaths are from the three sleeper-class compartments."
No evidence of sabotage has been detected, Rao said, adding the cause of the derailment appeared to be a technical fault. Rescue operations were under way and coaches that had not derailed had been towed from the scene.
India's state railways, built during British colonial rule, have an appalling safety record - the result of decades of underinvestment and a priority on keeping fares low for the 23 million passengers who use the network every day.
In the last serious accident, 150 people died when a train derailed late last year in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. India recorded 27,581 railway deaths in 2014, the most recent year for which figures are available, with most victims falling from, or being struck by, moving trains.
"Anguished to learn about the train accident near Vizianagaram," Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said on Twitter, offering his condolences to the families of the victims. "We are investigating the reason for accident."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted that the tragedy was "saddening" and said the railways ministry was working to ensure quick relief and rescue operations.