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10 dead as train derails in India

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PHOTO: AP PHOTO

Ten people were killed and dozens injured when an express train derailed in north India on Saturday, an official said.

Emergency workers were pulling people out of mangled, upended carriages after 14 coaches derailed near Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh state, some 130 kilometres (80 miles) from New Delhi.

“Ten people have died and dozens have been injured. Most of the injured have been taken to the hospital,” said P S Mishra, chief medical officer for the area, by phone.

A police officer at the accident spot said 50 people had been taken to hospital.

“We are trying to take out the trapped people from the coaches,” senior police officer Jitender Kumar told AFP.

Another official said metal cutters and cranes were being used to reach inside the damaged coaches as the federal government rushed dozens of rescuers with specialised equipment and sniffers to the spot.

“Scores of people have been safely evacuated from the coaches. Some dead bodies have also been recovered,” fire and emergency officer Naresh Kumar told AFP.

Photographs and television footage showed scores of mangled coaches lying sideways as hundreds of people try to pull the passengers out.

The accident is the latest disaster to hit India’s most populous state. It comes just a week after dozens of children died at a hospital that had run out of oxygen there.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet expressed sympathies with the families of those killed and assured all possible assistance.

India’s railway network is still the main form of long-distance travel in the vast country, but it is poorly funded and deadly accidents often occur.

Less than a year ago 146 people died in a similar disaster in Uttar Pradesh.

A 2012 government report said almost 15,000 people were killed every year on India’s railways and described the loss of life as an annual “massacre”.

Modi’s government has pledged to invest $137 billion over five years to modernise the crumbling railways, making them safer, faster and more efficient.


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