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Death toll rises to 66 in Indian train collision

07-21-2010 15:28 BJT

SAINTHIA, India, July 20 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in Monday's Sainthia train collision in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal has reached 66, with only 33 bodies identified so far.

Tuesday saw all bodies recovered from the wreckage being shifted to Bardhaman Medical College hospital.

While an inquiry is underway to ascertain what actually caused this devastating accident, preliminary reports indicated that it was caused by a human error.

Eye witnesses Tuesday said that they heard the station master trying to alert the driver of the Uttarbanga Express on the walkie- talkie but got no response.

However, Railway Board Chairman Vivek Sahay had said Monday that the driver was experienced and could not have committed a mistake.

"We do not know whether the signal was given. Even if the signal was not given, the train has to stop at Sainthia," Sahay said.

The Uttarbanga Express drove into the station at high speed Monday, crashing into the rear of the Vananchal Express.

The collision was so severe that the roof and sides of one of the compartments of the Vananchal Express were slammed onto an overhead bridge for pedestrians.

A part of another compartment of the Vananchal Express split and fell on the road along the tracks after being thrown over the bridge.

The train's luggage van was completely damaged but the maximum impact of the collision was felt by the last two general unreserved bogies of the Vananchal Express.

The toll in the train collision rose with three more injured passengers of the Vananchal Express succumbing to injuries at the Burdwan Medical College Hospital.

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