NEW DELHI, July 19 (Xinhua) -- At least 52 people were killed and over 100 injured in another major rail accident in two months in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal in the wee hours Monday, said police.
|TV grab from India's Aaj Tak broadcast shows that rescuers are trying to bring|
injured people from the wreckage of the passenger train collision in the eastern
Indian state of West Bengal on July 19, 2010.(Xinhua/AFP)
The mishap happened when a speeding Kolkata-bound Uttarbanga Express overshot the track signal and rammed into a stationary Bhagalpur-Ranchi Vananchal Express from behind at Sainthia station in the state's Virbhum district some 200 km fro, Kolkata.
Both the trains came on the same track when the collision took place at 02:00 a.m., causing speculation if there is a blunder of the station authorities or the control system.
"Some 52 are confirmed dead, while those injured, including some who are said to be in critical condition, have been admitted to a local hospital. Several others are feared trapped inside the mangled compartments of the two trains and the death toll is likely to go up later in the day," said a police officer in Kolkata over the phone.
Most of the dead were in the last compartment with cheap, unreserved tickets, said police.
Such kind of compartments of Indian trains are usually overpacked with low-income laborers.
Local TV channels showed footage of the rescue operations being carried out by laborers with very primitive tools, although police and para-military forces were joining them with such tools as gas cutters.
They also telecast images of some who have been coming out unscathed from the wreckage.
The impact of the collision was so severe that the roof of a compartment of one train detached and was thrown up on an overbridge, according to TV footages.
Rescue operations had completed and at least 52 bodies have been removed from the wreckage, according to local TV channel CNN- IBN.
Meanwhile, questions are being raised on how the two trains came on the same track.
The scheduled arrival and departure of Uttar Banga Express at Sainthia was 01:38 a.m. and 01:39 a.m. and it was not clear why the train, which was to halt at the station, arrived at a high speed.
"An inquiry headed by the Commissioner of Railway Safety has been ordered into the incident," the Public Relations Officer of the Railways Ministry told the media in the national capital.
Indian Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, along with a team of senior officials, has rushed to the accident site.
While leaving, she told the media, "We have some doubt in our mind. We are searching for information. Let us now find details. It's a sad incident."
"We are really sorry for this. Sorry to see two incidents take place in West Bengal in two months. Whatever happens is not a casual thing. We will take necessary action. We will take strong steps whoever is behind this."
In May, some 150 people were killed when the Mumbai-bound Gyaneshwari Express derailed due to alleged left-wing rebel sabotage in the state's West Midnapore district, and subsequently a speeding freight train rammed into the derailed coaches.
Some survivors said the accident took place when most of the passengers were sleeping.
The Indo-Asian News Service said the Vananchal Express was about to leave the station when the accident occurred.
The injured passengers were being sent to hospitals in Sainthia and Birbhum district headquarters Suri, said the news service.