Rae Bareli (Uttar Pradesh): Seven persons were killed on Wednesday when nine coaches and the engine of an Express train heading to Delhi from Malda in West Bengal derailed in a rural part of Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, officials said.
More than 100 people were also injured when the New Farakka Express ran off the tracks near Harchandpur around 6.05 a.m. Four passengers have been critically injured, railway officials said.
Those who died were identified as Shambhu, 25, Sunita, 52, Kumari Rita, 1, Ajay Kurmi, 45, and Dinesh, 7, all from Bihar.
Railway officials had earlier put the death toll at six and said that five coaches and the engine had derailed.
A man who was believed dead was found alive, an official said.
Most passengers were asleep when the disaster occurred. One passenger who did not give his name told journalists at the site that he woke up after hearing a loud thud and realized that many coaches had gone off the tracks.
“Two coaches turned turtle,” the passenger said. “The first to come to the help of the trapped passengers were fellow passengers as well as villagers.”
The injured were taken to the Rae Bareli district hospital. Later, they were shifted to Lucknow from buses and then sent to Delhi in a special train.
Even hours later, it was not clear what caused the derailment.
Rescuers used long range cameras and gas cutters to rip through the mangled coaches to extricate the bodies and those trapped inside, the police officer said.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of those killed.
He said the seriously injured would get Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000 would be given to those who suffered simple injuries.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of the dead.
“I have ordered an inquiry into the accident which will be conducted by Commissioner of Railway Safety,” Goyal said in a statement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi condoled the deaths.
The rescue operations were handled by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) from Allahabad and Varanasi.
The traffic on the single line route was blocked as the train coaches were removed from the track. The rail traffic would be restored by midnight.
At least five trains were cancelled, five were short terminated and nine trains were diverted following the disaster.