Rescue operations by railway personnel assisted by those of army, NDRF and state police, on at the mishap spot near Kanpur on Sunday. Most passengers were sleeping when the accident occurred. Pics/PTI
Rescue operations by railway personnel assisted by those of army, NDRF and state police, on at the mishap spot near Kanpur on Sunday. Most passengers were sleeping when the accident occurred. Pics/PTI

Pukhrayan (UP): At least 120 passengers were killed and more than 200 injured, nearly half of them grievously, in the worst train accident in recent years when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed in Kanpur rural area in the wee hours yesterday due to suspected rail fracture.

The disaster took place just a little after 0300 hrs when the passengers were jolted out of their sleep as the Patna-bound train jumped the tracks, badly damaging four ordinary sleeper coaches in which hundreds were trapped.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu at the spot
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu at the spot

Of the four coaches, the S1 and S2 had telescoped into each other and most of the casualties were feared to have been in these two compartments. S3 and S4 coaches also suffered severe damage while an AC III tier coach was also affected.

Two of the trapped passengers
Two of the trapped passengers

As railway personnel assisted by the army, NDRF and state police carried out the search and rescue operation, the number of casualties kept increasing by the hour. By evening, 120 bodies were recovered and taken to Mati mortuary in Kanpur rural.

Army, BSF, personnel killed
An army man Prabhu Narayan Singh, Anil Kishore of BSF from Bihar, and police constable Lakhan Singh from Jhansi were among the dead.

Seventy-six passengers were seriously injured, IG (Kanpur range) Zaki Ahmad said. “Over 150 injured have been taken to hospitals in the area. All hospitals have been asked to be alert. More than 30 ambulances have been pressed into service,” he said.

Track fracture suspected
Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha told reporters at the spot that it seems the cause of the accident is rail fracture.

Prez, PM condole tragedy
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in condoling the train tragedy.

“I am sad to learn about the accident in which many have lost their lives and a number of persons are injured. I am sure that the state government is providing all possible assistance to the bereaved families as well as medical aid to the injured,” Mukherjee said in a message to Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik.

The PM in a tweet said, “Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families.”

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu enhanced the ex-gratia grant from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh to the families of the dead. “A high-level inquiry is on. We have mobilised our resources from all over the country. All our GMs have also reached the spot,” Prabhu said.