PUKHARAYAN, Uttar Pradesh — In the worst rail accident in recent years, over 100 passengers were killed and more than 200 injured, nearly half of them grievously, when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed near here in Kanpur rural district early Sunday due to suspected rail fracture.
The disaster took place just a little after 0300 hours when the passengers were deep asleep and jolted as the train jumped off the tracks.
Four ordinary sleeper coaches of the train — S1, S2, S3, S4 — were badly damaged in the mishap. The S1 and S2 coaches had telescoped into each other and most of the casualties were feared to have been in these two compartments.
An AC III tier coach was also damaged but casualties in it were not heavy. Survivors, who were jolted out of their sleep, were lucky to find themselves among mangled remains of the bogies when they were rescued.
The number of casualties kept on increasing by the hour and by afternoon, 103 bodies were recovered, Commissioner (Kanpur Zone) Iftikharuddin said.
Seventy-six passengers were seriously injured in the derailment, IG (Kanpur range) Zaki Ahmad said.
“Over 150 injured people have been rushed to nearby hospitals in the area. All hospitals have been asked to be alert. More than 30 ambulances have been pressed into service,” he said.
Officials said that prima facie cause of the accident could be due to track fracture. Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha told reporters at the spot that it seems the cause of the accident is rail fracture.
Member (Engineering) will find out the cause of the mishap and action will be taken against those responsible, he said.
With several passengers feared trapped, rescue personnel employed cold cutters to break open the compartments as gas cutters produced excessive heat and suffocation hampering their efforts.
A number of trapped passengers were rescued.
Teams of army doctors, railway officials and personnel of NDRF, state PAC and other policemen were involved in carrying out rescue and relief operation.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and a host of other leaders condoled the loss of lives in the train tragedy. PNA/PTI-northboundasia.com