India: Train crash in Uttar Pradesh kills dozens

The aftermath of the train crash

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At least 69 people have been killed and almost 250 injured in a train derailment in northern India.

A dozen coaches of the Kalka Mail passenger train left the rails near the town of Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Rescue workers and locals have been working through the night to try to free trapped passengers from the badly damaged carriages.

The train was travelling from Howrah near Calcutta to the capital Delhi and derailed at more than 100kmph (62mph).

Among the bodies removed from the damaged coaches were those of two Swedish passengers, said the BBC's Ram Dutt Tripathi in Fatehpur.

A third Swede is among scores of injured receiving treatment in hospital in the local town of Kanpur.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed his deep concern over the accident, the second in a week in Uttar Pradesh, and has directed the railway authorities to use all available resources for the relief operation.

Some coaches mounted each other and others were badly crushed in the accident, making it difficult for rescuers to reach victims.

Specialist medical and engineering teams along with cutting equipment and cranes have been sent to the crash site, local reports said.

Villagers praised

The cause of the derailment, about 120km (75 miles) south-east of Uttar Pradesh's capital, Lucknow, was not immediately clear.

The drivers of the train escaped with minor injuries. They told the BBC that their train was derailed by faulty work on the track by rail workers.

Map

Ram Kumar, a conductor on the train, told our reporter he remembered feeling a series of jolts, before the guard pulled the emergency brake.

The train was reportedly travelling at 108km/h (67mph) - fast by local standards.

A rail worker told the BBC that maintenance work was being done at Malvan station, about which the train driver had not been warned.

Survivors praised local villagers, who arrived at the scene within 20 minutes to help with rescue work.

Most of the injured are being treated at hospitals in Fatehpur, but the worst cases have been taken to Lucknow, Kanpur and Allahabad.

The Uttar Pradesh state governor, B L Joshi, has arrived in Fatehpur and is expected to visit the crash site and hospital.

Accidents are common on the state-owned Indian railway, an immense network connecting every corner of the vast country.

It operates 9,000 passenger trains and carries some 18 million passengers every day.

Last Thursday, 38 people died in Uttar Pradesh when a train hit a bus carrying a wedding party.

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