Train accident kills at least 40 in northern India

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 26, 2014 at 10:19 am •  Published: May 26, 2014
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Most of the victims were poor farm workers returning to their homes from the neighboring state of Haryana, local police official Zameer Ahmad said. The train departed from Haryana's Hissar town and was just 46 kilometers (29 miles) from its destination of Gorakhpur when the accident happened.

Because of the remote location, "it was difficult to start rescue operations immediately," Ahmad said. "By the time police and rail officials reached the spot, villagers and other passengers had moved the injured away."

Rescuers worked to free people trapped under toppled cars and debris. The express train's driver died later Monday from serious injuries, while the assistant driver was in critical condition, railway official Alok Kumar said.

Trains were diverted to other tracks to avoid the wreckage.

Narendra Modi, who was sworn in later Monday as India's new prime minister, expressed condolences to the families of the dead in a message on Twitter. "Prayers with the injured," he said.

Accidents are common on India's railroad network, one of the world's largest with 20 million people riding daily on about 11,000 passenger trains. Most accidents are blamed on poor maintenance and human error.

Earlier this month, a train crashed into a jeep at an unmanned railroad crossing in Uttar Pradesh, killing 13 members of a wedding party. Four days earlier, a passenger train derailed, killing at least 19 people just south of Mumbai. Another train derailment last month left dozens injured in the northeast state of Assam.