New Delhi – The death toll in one of India’s worst train crashes climbed to 142 on Monday as rescue workers who combed the site overnight for survivors, started wrapping up their work.
Fourteen carriages of a train travelling from the western Indian city of Indore to Patna in the east jumped off the track at around 3 am Sunday (2130 GMT Saturday) near the area of Pukhrayan in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
“We have recovered 142 bodies so far and 115 have been identified,” Zaki Ahmed, the police officer in charge of the region, said.
Ahmed said around 50 people who were critically injured were being treated in hospitals while another 150 with minor injuries had been released.
Nearly 100 people were killed when 14 coaches of a passenger train derailed at Pokhraya station near Kanpur in northern India on November 20, 2016. (Credit Image: © Prabhat Kumar Verma/Pacific Press via ZUMA Wire)
“Rescue teams worked overnight under floodlights to find survivors. A few small teams are continuing operations today as one of the coaches is lying on top of another one,” Indian Railways spokesman Anil Saxena said.
Most of the casualties were passengers in three sleeper coaches which telescoped into each other and rescuers had to cut through mangled metal to reach the victims.
The train with 23 coaches was carrying around 2,500 passengers who were to disembark at various stations and mostly at the terminal station of Patna.
India’s railways carry an estimated 20 million passengers daily and have a poor safety record. According to the Railway Board most accidents are caused by human errors; collisions with animals, people, other vehicles; derailments and fires.