Train crash kills 15, many trapped

AGRA: An express train ploughed into the back of another in northern India early Wednesday, killing up to 15 and trapping as many as 50 in the wreckage, officials and reports said.

Local television channels put the death toll at 10-15, while a local railway official confirmed four dead to AFP in the crash outside the town of Mathura, 150 kilometres (93 miles) south of New Delhi.

Rescuers battled with mechanical cutters to reach the dozens of people feared trapped in one badly mangled carriage that had derailed due the impact of the collision.

"At least four were killed in the accident that took place near Mathura on the Agra-Delhi train track," said Rajendra Dutt Tripathi, the divisional railway manager from the nearby city of Agra who was at the scene.

"More than a dozen have been shifted for treatment to a nearby hospital," he added.

Vijay Kumar, a senior police official in the nearby town of Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, told the CNN-IBN channel that the crash happened at 5:30 am local time (0000 GMT), but declined to give casualty figures.

He said an express train from the southern state of Goa heading to Delhi had run into the back of a stationary train, the Mewar express, which is an overnight train linking the state of Rajasthan with the capital.

Tripathi told AFP that initial reports suggested the Mewar express was at standstill because a passenger had pulled the emergency chain and the driver of the Goa express had overlooked a signal requesting him to stop.

"These are matter of investigation and a final conclusion can only be reached after a detailed inquiry," he said.

R.D. Vajpayee, chief spokesman for northern railways, told NDTV that the company would pay 500,000 rupees (10,800 dollars) to the families of the dead.

"There are many people who are injured and many people who are dead," an unnamed eyewitness told CNN-IBN. "A lot of people fell onto the tracks because of the impact of the collision."