Harda: At least 28 people were killed and some 40 wounded when two trains derailed in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday night.
Six coaches of the Mumbai-Varanasi Kamayani Express derailed around 11:30 pm while crossing a culvert near the Kudawa railway station, around 25 km from Harda, which is some 160 km south of the state capital of Bhopal. Minutes later, four coaches and the engine of the Jabalpur-Mumbai Janata Express, which was travelling in the opposite direction, derailed.
More than 300 people were rescued, reports agencies.
The accident occurred because of heavy rains and waterlogging in the area that caused the tracks to cave, said Railways spokesperson Anil Saxena, adding that the bogies had not fallen into the Machak river as earlier reported.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu tweets Wednesday morning that he has ordered a probe and announced compensation to be paid immediately.
Police and doctors have been deployed to the accident site, with television footage showing medical supplies being piled on a nearby station platform and rescuers combing through tilted carriages.
“Rescue operations are in full swing. Things are under control and most of the people have been rescued,” Saxena told NDTV.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that two train accidents in Madhya Pradesh “are deeply distressing. Deeply pained over the loss of lives. Condolences to families of deceased.”
Rescuers said operations were being hampered by flooding in the area with officials working through the night, mostly in darkness.
“The entire area has been reeling under heavy rainfall for the past few days. The roads are badly damaged, even the access road,” Saxena said.
All private and government hospitals in Harda were alerted and made ready to accommodate the victims.
Rail traffic in the area has been hit, with at least 25 trains from Mumbai being diverted.