120 killed as 14 coaches of Indore-Patna Express derail

More than 200 injured in the worst rail mishap in recent years that took place in Kanpur Dehat; it is suspected that a rail fracture caused it; Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu says a high-level inquiry is on to probe the incident

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.

Some injured get scrapped cash
Some passengers injured in the derailment mysteriously received cash, mostly in scrapped Rs 500 notes, while they were admitted in a hospital. Stumped by this, the authorities promised to probe the matter.

A relative of one of the injured claimed that the person who handed over the money told her that the money was given by the railways. There was no confirmation whether the money was actually sent by the railways.

Bride-to-be searches for father
Pukhraya (Kanpur Dehat): Her whole world came crashing down around 20-year-old bride-to-be Ruby Gupta after the Indore-Patna Express derailed as she is yet to trace her father. Ruby, who was left with a fractured arm, was on her way to Mau in Azamagarh from Indore for her wedding scheduled on December 1 when the train derailed.

Ruby Gupta
Ruby Gupta

The eldest of siblings, Ruby was travelling with sisters Archna (18), Khushi (16), brothers Abhishek and Vishal, and father Ram Prasad Gupta, who is missing. Also travelling with them was a family friend Ram Parmesh Singh. “I cannot find my father and I have been looking everywhere for him.

Some people told me to look in hospitals and in morgues but I am clueless as to what to do. I have a fractured arm and my sisters have also sustained injuries,” she said.

Major train accidents In india since 1988

Nov 20, 2016: Over 100 passengers were killed and more than 200 injured when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed in Uttar Pradesh.

May 28, 2010: At least 148 people were killed after the Gyaneshwari Express was derailed by Naxals in West Midnapore district of West Bengal.

Sept 9, 2002: 100 passengers were killed and 150 hurt after a bogie of Howrah-Delhi Rajdhani Express plunged into the Dhave river in Bihar.

Aug 2, 1999: At least 290 passengers were killed after two trains carrying a total of 2,500 people collided at Gaisal in Assam

Nov 26, 1998: At least 212 people were killed as the Jammu Tawi-Sealdah Express collided with derailed coaches of the Frontier Mail in Punjab.

Sept 14, 1997: 81 people were killed when five bogies of Ahmedabad-Howrah express fell into a river in Madhya Pradesh.

Aug 20, 1995: 400 people were killed after the Puroshottam Express rammed into Kalindi Express in Uttar Pradesh.

Apr 18, 1988: At least 75 people were killed when the Karnataka Express derailed near Lalitpur in Uttar Pradesh.

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