At least five people were killed and 25 injured after a truck rammed into a train in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh early Monday. A local lawmaker was also among the dead.
The accident occurred around 2:30 a.m., local time, (5 p.m. EDT) at a railroad crossing in the northeastern district of Anantapur when a truck carrying granite boulders sped onto the track despite a railway gate, Press Trust of India news agency reported, citing K. Satyanarayana, the district's deputy inspector of general. The brakes of the truck appeared to have failed, he said.
Venkatesh Naik, a 79-year-old Congress party member of legislative assembly from the northeastern Raichur district of Karnataka, was also killed on the spot in the accident. He has formerly served as the member of parliament of the country's lower house four times.
The cleaner of the truck was also killed in the incident.
“The truck driver jumped out seconds before the impact and fell unconscious but survived and he has been questioned. The truck could not stop as the brakes failed,” K. Malyadri, additional superintendent of police, said, according to the Indian Express newspaper.
The collision derailed four coaches of the train, causing minor injuries to passengers. The train was bound to Nanded district in the western Indian state of Maharashtra from Bangalore, the capital of southern state of Karnataka, which borders Andhra Pradesh.
Injured people were rushed to a local hospital. Andhra Pradesh Information Minister P. Raghunath Reddy reportedly said that medical officials have conducted postmortem on the victims' bodies.
Following an investigation into the incident, officials would be able to determine the cause of the crash, Reddy said, adding that they were probing whether the brakes of the truck failed or its driver was drunk or fell asleep.
Sheer negligence of lorry driver, who broke the LC gate & then crashed into the train, caused loss of lives including one Rly personnel.
— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) August 24, 2015
The collision hampered the railway route between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Twenty buses were arranged for the stranded passengers to take them to their destinations, Anantapur District Collector K. Sasidhar said, according to Indo-Asian News Service.
India’s Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu called it an "unfortunate accident," adding that immediate relief has been sent to the affected people.
Ex gratia will be given to affected injured and dead.
— Suresh Prabhu (@sureshpprabhu) August 24, 2015
The collision comes less than a month after two trains derailed in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, killing at least 31 people.