UPDATE: 2:24 a.m. EST — The death toll in the deadly train crash that occurred near the northern Indian city of Kanpur climbed to 142, local media reports said. Search operations continued for possible survivors in the wreckage of the Indore-Patna Express that derailed Sunday.
UPDATE: 1:23 p.m. EST — The casualty toll climbed to at least 115 dead and 150 injured in the derailment of a passenger train in northern India Sunday. Police said they expect the number of dead to rise further because rescue workers have yet to access the rail cars that suffered the worst damage.
UPDATE: 1:29 AM EST — The death toll has risen to 90 in the deadly train crash that occurred about 63 miles from the northern Indian city of Kanpur.
Rescue workers are using gas cutters to pull out survivors from the mangled coaches that ran off the tracks early Sunday. Daljeet Chaudhary, a director general of police, said the toll was likely to rise as some of the worst hit coaches were yet to be accessed, adding: “There are people trapped inside. We are being very careful in using the gas cutters.”
At least 63 people were killed and over 120 injured as 14 coaches of a passenger train ran off the tracks in the northern Indian city of Kanpur early Sunday, local media reported.
The derailment of the Indore-Patna Express occurred around 3:10 a.m. local time (4:40 p.m. EST Saturday) near the industrial city of Kanpur.
Hundreds of people were trapped as some coaches crashed into others. Daljeet Chaudhary, a director general of police, said local volunteers and railway police were working to pull out bodies and rescue those in cars that fell to the side, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The death toll is set to rise as two air-conditioned coaches were severely damaged with people still trapped inside, said Rajesh Modak of the Railway Protection Force. First aid was being administered near the site and those who were severely injured were being moved to local hospitals.
“We woke with a jolt at around 3 a.m. Several coaches were derailed, everybody was in shock. I saw several bodies and injured people,” Krishna Keshav, a passenger on the train, told the BBC.
The cause of the derailment was not immediately clear.
A major railway station in North India, Kanpur sees hundreds of trains pass through every day. A number of trains have now been diverted to other routes, Anil Saxena, spokesman for Indian Railways, reportedly said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the tragedy and tweeted that he is in touch with the country’s railway minister, Suresh Prabhu.
Prabhu said that “strictest possible action will be taken against those who could be responsible for accident” adding that there will be an enquiry into the accident. Compensation has been declared for those affected.
India’s ageing railway infrastructure has made train accidents a common occurrence in a country that sees almost 23 million passengers use its vast railway network every day.