Sunday, April 21, 2024

61 die in train crash

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CALCUTTA, India – A speeding express train ploughed into a stationary passenger train in eastern India yesterday, killing 61 people in a crash so powerful it thrust the roof of one car onto an overpass. Officials said they could not rule out sabotage.Residents crawled over the twisted wreckage trying desperately to free survivors before rescue workers arrived with heavy equipment to cut through the metal.Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, who rushed to the site, raised the possibility the crash could have been another case of sabotage, two months after Maoist rebels were blamed for a derailment that killed 145 people.“We have some doubts in our mind” about whether it was an accident, she said.The crash happened about 2 a.m. when the Uttarbanga Express slammed into the Vananchal Express as it left the platform at Sainthia station, about 125 miles north of Calcutta.The accident destroyed two passenger cars and a luggage car, turning them into a tangle of twisted metal. The passenger cars were reserved for those on the cheapest tickets and such carriages are usually packed to capacity.The force of the crash was so intense the roof of one car landed on an overpass above the tracks. Local residents climbing through the debris searching for survivors were later joined by rescue workers using heavy equipment to cut through the metal.“I was sleeping when I felt a huge jolt and heard a loud noise and then the train stopped,” passenger Lakshman Bhaumik told local television. Bhaumik survived with minor injuries.Rescuers recovered 61 bodies from the crash site and 125 other people were injured, said Surajit Kar Purkayastha, a top police official. The two drivers of the Uttarbanga Express were among the dead, Banerjee said.Rescue teams arrived about three hours after the accident, a local resident said. (AP)

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