Date
8 December 2016
Rescue workers search for survivors at the site of a train derailment in Pukhrayan, south of Kanpur city in India. Photo: Reuters
Rescue workers search for survivors at the site of a train derailment in Pukhrayan, south of Kanpur city in India. Photo: Reuters

India train derails, killing at least 119

At least 119 people were killed and more than 150 injured when an Indian express train derailed in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.

The toll set to rise amid a scramble to locate survivors, Reuters reports.

Police officials said people were still missing as authorities tried to determine what caused 14 carriages of the train traveling between the northeastern city of Patna and the central city of Indore to suddenly roll off the tracks in Pukhrayan, 65 kilometers south of Kanpur city.

Authorities said they were checking the condition of the tracks but would need to look further before concluding the cause of the derailment, India’s deadliest rail tragedy since more than 140 died in a 2010 collision in West Bengal.

Desperate survivors searched for family members and some tried to enter the damaged carriages to rescue relatives and collect belongings, said senior railway official Pratap Rai.

“We are using every tactic to save lives but it’s very difficult to cut the metal carriages,” he said from the accident site.

Kanpur district magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma told Reuters that 119 people were confirmed dead, while 78 of the injured remained in hospital, four of them in critical condition.

With rescue teams still looking for victims amid the wreckage, the toll from the derailment could rise to become India’s worst rail tragedy in this century.

In what was probably India’s worst rail disaster, a train plunged off a bridge and into a river in 1981 in Bihar state, killing an estimated 500 to 800 people.

India’s creaking railway system is the world’s fourth largest. It runs 11,000 trains a day, including 7,000 passenger trains carrying more than 20 million people.

But it has a poor safety record, with thousands of people dying in accidents every year, including in train derailments and collisions.

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