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 here, just a little after 0300 hours due to a suspected rail fracture.
The driver of the Indore-Patna Express witnessed “the overhead equipment shaking” and “felt a jerk”, both of these unexpected occurrences – and applied the emergency brakes, show official Railways records of the worst train accident in recent years that killed at least 120 people and injured over 180. Fourteen coaches of the Indore-Patna Express had derailed at Pukhrayan in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh early Sunday morning.
Of the four coaches, S1 and S2 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. Though an AC-III tier coach was affected the casualties were not heavy. As railway personnel, assisted by the Army, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the state police carried out a search-and-rescue operations, the number of casualties kept on increasing by the hour.
By late Sunday evening, 120 bodies were recovered from the mangled coaches and most of them were taken to the Mati Mortuary in Kanpur rural, according to IG Zaki Ahmad, who said a few more passengers were feared trapped.
Among the dead, 62 have been identified. At least 20 are from Uttar Pradesh, 15 from Madhya Pradesh and 6 from Bihar and one each from Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Seventy-six passengers were seriously injured and 150 others received minor injuries. These passengers were rushed to the nearby hospitals in the area, more than thirty ambulances were pressed into service.
Minister of State for Railway Manoj Sinha told reporters that it seems the cause of the accident in rail fracture. With several passengers feared trapped, rescue personnel employed cold cutters to break open the compartments as gas cutters produce excessive heat and suffocation and would hamper rescue efforts.
Officials said that prima facie the cause of the accident could be due to track fracture. Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha told reporters on the spot that it seems the cause of the accident in rail fracture.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an inquiry into the accident “Inquiry team will start investigation immediately. All necessary assistance provided to the affected, we are taking care.”Prabhu tweeted. Commissioner of Railway Safety (Eastern Circle) PK Acharya, who is heading the inquiry, is scheduled to start his probe on Monday.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and a host of other leaders gave their condolences to the loss of lives in the train tragedy.
While Yadav announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of each of the dead in the accident, Modi sanctioned Rs 2 lakh. On his part, the Railway Minister enhanced the ex-gratia grant from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh to the families of the dead.
The UP government will give Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for those with simple injuries.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who visited the injured in hospitals in Kanpur Urban, announced Rs 2 lakh for kin of each of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured.