At least 100 people were killed and more than 200 injured early Sunday when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna express train flew off the rails in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh, police said.
The toll in one of India’s worst train accidents in six years was expected to rise as bodies were feared trapped in mangled coaches, railway and police officials said about the derailment that took place at 3.10am near Pukhrayan, about 100km from Kanpur.
“Ninety-six people have died,” superintendent of Police (Kanpur Dehat) Prabhakar Chowdhury said.
Seventy-six people were seriously injured while 150 suffered minor injuries. Hospitals were on an alert and more than 30 ambulances pressed into service, IG (Kanpur range) Zaki Ahmad said.
Volunteers and railway police were working to pull out passengers from coaches that fell on the side. Most of the passengers were sleeping at the time of the accident.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the train tragedy.
“Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” he said in a tweet.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the train tragedy and announced ex-gratia for the families of the victims.
Rs 3.5 lakh exgratia will be given for the families of those killed in the derailment and Rs 50,000 for those grievously injured, he said.
Prabhu said the Commissioner of Railway Safety will probe the reasons behind the derailment.
“All rescue and relief work is on to deal with the unfortunate accident. All medical and other help rushed. Inquiry ordered. Situation monitored closely,” Prabhu said.