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Death Toll In Indian Train Accident Rises To 147
The death toll in Sunday’s train accident in India has risen to 147 with reports saying the number could rise as many of the injured were still in critical conditions.
The cause of the crash, which happened near the city of Kanpur in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state, is not yet official, but there are reports that a fractured rail could be responsible.
Train accidents are fairly common in India, where much of the rail infrastructure and rolling stock is out of date.
Early on Monday the railway ministry published a list of names of injured passengers. Out of the 180 listed, 56 were said to be “grievously injured”.
Hundreds are taking part in the rescue operation, using machines to cut through the mangled metal or using their bare hands to remove the debris, as police hold back curious onlookers from nearby villages.
Two carriages are completely smashed up beyond recognition. Several other carriages are hanging off the tracks precariously.
Personal effects of passengers – bags, clothes, water bottles – are strewn all over the place.
Officials are saying that those still trapped in the wreckage are probably dead by now.
There are two giant cranes trying to remove carriages that have already been cleared of bodies, but it’s proving difficult because they’re badly damaged.
Most of the victims were located in the first two carriages of the train which crashed into each other and overturned.
According to the Indian Express the carriages were outdated though the government had promised earlier this year to upgrade all trains.
Other reports say the train may have also been carrying far more passengers that it was supposed to.
Although the official number of passengers was about 1,200, the Times of India said as many as another 500 could have been on the train without tickets.
Anxious relatives of missing passengers have reached the scene. One man from Patna said he spotted a hand sticking out in the debris wearing a ring which he recognised as his brother’s.
“I’m certain that it’s my brother’s body but it’s not been removed yet,” he told jounalists.
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.
Modi also promised compensation to the victims’ relatives and injured passengers, and said he had spoken to Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu.
On his own Twitter account, Prabhu warned that “strictest possible action will be taken against those who could be responsible for accident”.
Kanpur is a major railway junction and hundreds of trains pass through it every day.
Last year, the government announced investments of $137bn (£111bn) over five years to modernise and expand the railways.
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
Khanna, 26 Nov 1998: At least 212 killed as a train collides with a derailed train
Gaisal, Assam, 2 Aug 1999: At least 290 killed as two trains carrying a total of 2,500 people collide
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.