More bodies pulled from India train wreckage, 67 deadBy AP News Jul 11, 2011 2:00PM UTC
FATEHPUR, India (AP) — Rescue workers pulled more bodies Monday from the mangled wreckage of a passenger train that derailed in northern India, as the death toll climbed to 67.
Many more bodies were believed trapped under the twisted coaches, and soldiers were using gas cutters to slice through the metal, said Col. Amarjit Dhillon, a senior army official in charge of rescue operations.
The cause of Sunday afternoon’s derailment near the town of Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh state was not immediately known, but newspaper reports said the driver of the Kalka Mail slammed on the train’s emergency brakes to save some cattle squatting on the tracks.
Railway authorities were investigating the cause of the accident, said H.C. Joshi, a senior railway official.
Volunteers and soldiers worked through the night to pull many of the more than 100 injured from the train’s 12 shattered coaches. Officials said the train was carrying about 1,000 passengers, but the exact number was not known.
At least one coach flew above the roof of another ahead of it and was dangling precariously, while another coach was thrown away from the rest of the train.
“It’s a difficult operation. Two cranes are being used to pull up the coach,” Dhillon said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of miles (kilometers) to the northeast, police said a militant group was suspected of triggering a bomb that led to the derailment of another train, also on Sunday.
G. P. Singh, inspector-general of police, said the Adivasi Peoples’ Army was suspected of triggering the bomb.
More than 50 passengers were injured when the train derailed, and the condition of four of them was critical, police said.
The Kalka Mail train, the first to derail, was on its way to Kalka, in the foothills of the Himalayas, from Howrah, a station near Kolkata in eastern India.
Train services across northern India have been disrupted as railroad authorities work to clear the tracks. At least 62 trains had been diverted to other routes and many others have been canceled, said S. Mathur, a railway official.
India’s railroad network is one of the largest in the world and carries about 14 million passengers each day. Accidents are common, with most blamed on poor maintenance and human error.