Bengaluru/Chennai/Kochi: Twelve passengers died and 30 were injured when the Bengaluru-Erankulam inter-city express derailed near Bengaluru early Friday, said Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
Chandy, who spoke to Karnataka Home Minister K.J. George, told reporters in Kochi (for which Ernakulam is the railhead, and said a Kerala delegation led by Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed has left for the accident site.
The incident occurred at 7.35 a.m. when the engine and eight coaches of the express train jumped the track and derailed after it left Anekal station (near Bengaluru) towards Hosur (in Tamil Nadu) on the inter-state border, an official told IANS here.
The train departed from Bengaluru's main city station at 6.15 a.m. and covered 35 km when the mishap took place between the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border on the Bengaluru-Salem section between Anekal road and Hosur town.
"So far two Keralites have been reported dead and we are told that two coaches are worst affected. Separate helplines have been opened at the Ernakulam, Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram," said Chandy.
Reports said the toll is likely to go up as the worst affected D8 and D9 coaches had around 109 passengers.
"An expert team has rushed to the spot to find out what caused the derailment as two coaches telescoped into each other on impact," a railway official in Bengaluru said.
Anish, a passenger on the train, told the media in Kochi over telephone that the rescue team had cut open the two coaches to shift the injured to hospitals.
Another passenger, Cyriac Mathew, also told the media in Kochi over the telephone that he had seen three bodies. "...The worst affected was the coach D-8. I could see the bodies of two men and a woman in the coach...," said Mathew, who is regular traveller on the train.
"Police and the ambulance arrived an hour after the accident," Mathew said.
Railway officials in Bengaluru did not know the cause of the derailment and said their priority was to rescue the injured and provide relief to the stranded passengers.
The South Western Railway (SWR) has set up help desks at the city station in Bengaluru and at the mishap spot to assist the injured and the stranded passengers.