Kalburgi: Two women passengers died and eight other people were injured early Saturday when nine coaches of a speeding Mumbai-bound Duronto express from Secunderabad in Telangana derailed near here in north Karnataka, an official said.
"The incident occurred after the train passed Martur station between Wadi and Kalaburgi at 2.42 a.m.," Central Railways' Solapur division's Additional Manager K. Madhusudan told IANS from mishap spot, about 630 km from Bengaluru.
The victims have been identified as Jyothi Shankar, 46, and Pushpalatha Harish, 26.. They were travelling to Pune in Maharashtra from Secunderabad.
As a non-stop superfast express, the fully air-conditioned Duronto was passing through at 110 km speed when the derailment happened in the dark.
"Though the first seven coaches from engine passed safely, the following nine coaches, including a pantry car (HA1, A1, A2, A3, B6, B7, B8, B9) derailed while the remaining four coaches in the rear were stranded on track," Madhusudan said.
Prior to the express train, a Hyderabad-Mumbai express passed safely from the same mishap spot though the area has been witnessing heavy rains over the last couple of days.
"The cause of derailment is not known yet. An inquiry by the commissioner of railway safety has been ordered. A portion of track, which gave way, has been repaired to restore traffic on the high density route," Madhusudan said.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said the derailment was "saddening" and that an enquiry has been ordered into the accident.
"Saddened by Duronto accident. Ordered enquiry. Immediate medical relief and other assistance rushed. Chairman of the railway board has been asked to rush to the spot," Prabhu tweeted.
"All the injured being rushed to hospitals. We will give ex-gratia to the injured, unfortunate families of the dead," he added.
Of the injured, a Indian Navy cadet (Abdul Ashraf Gaffar, 21) lost a leg while other seven were identified as Manik Reddy, 62, Yadamma Reddy, 55, Srikant Kashinath, 24, Ramakrishna Subba Reddy, 40, Rajeeev Ramachandra, 30, Lakshmi, 50, and Bhaskar B Narasing, 45.
The worst affected was B8 coach in which both victims and the injured were travelling. They were part of a 22-member group of employees from Rajdeep Associates in Secunderabad, proceeding to Lonawala in Maharashtra on a three-day vacation. Preliminary investigation by police ruled out sabotage.
Most passengers were in daze and were unable to explain how the coaches derailed as they were asleep.
"The stranded passengers have been rescued and put in a special train to Mumbai, while the injured were admitted to a district hospital at Kalaburgi," the manager said.
Efforts are on to restore the track and resume movement of trains, which came to a halt since 3 a.m., affecting thousands of passengers on the busy Mumbai-Hyderabad, and Mumbai-Chennai and Mumbai-Bengaluru double track.
- With inputs from Chaitraly Deshmukh
Gulbarga 0847-2255066 / 2255067