63 killed in Kanpur train disaster

Kanpur, Nov 20 (IANS) At least 63 people were killed and over 150 injured when 14 coaches of the Patna-Indore Express derailed near this industrial city in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, officials said.

The accident occurred shortly after 3 a.m. near Pukhraya station in Kanpur, senior police officer Daljeet Chowdhary said.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were carrying out search and relief operations.

According to railway sources, the train was on way to Patna from Jhansi.

The passengers in the S1 coach had complained about noises, but train staff did not pay heed, sources said.

The ill-fated train was also stopped twice due to some reasons which are not yet clear.

Around 3.30 a.m., the S1 coach derailed and was followed by the next 10.

Eyewitnesses said that the S1 and S2 coaches were severely damaged.

The accident took place when it was still dark and relief teams only started arriving after it was daylight, they said.

Bodies had to be pulled out from the mangled sleeper coaches.

The 11109 Jhansi-Lucknow Intercity and 51803 Jhansi-Kanpur Intercity have been cancelled.

The routes of two trains, Nos. 12542 and 12522, have been changed. They will ply thorugh Agra and Kanpur.

Some passengers were still trapped in the wreckage of the train, and the toll is certain to increase, railway officials said.

Helpline numbers have been issued: Jhansi: 0510-1072; Urai: 0516-21072; Kanpur: 0512-1072; Pukhraya: 05113-270239; Kanpur Dehat district: 0511-271050.

According to NDRF official Alok Singh, the toll is above 100.

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an inquiry into the accident.

–IANS

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