AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
BANGALORE: At least 25 people were killed and 45 injured early today when a passenger train slammed into a stationary goods train in southern India, rail officials said.
The sleeper train crashed into the parked goods train at Penneconda station in Andhra Pradesh state as it was travelling overnight to Bangalore, the information-technology hub and capital city of Karnataka state.
“The number of deaths now is 25 and 45 are injured out of which some have minor injuries but 10 are grievously hurt,” railway ministry spokeswoman Chandralekha Mukherjee told AFP in New Delhi. The Andhra Pradesh state police said the bodies of 16 of the victims travelling in a carriage behind the engine were badly burnt as it caught fire following the collision.
“The coach was meant only for women but it is not possible to say if the bodies are women or men as they are charred,” Charu Sinha, deputy inspector general of Andhra Pradesh police, told AFP from the crash site. “There are no more bodies in the wreckage as (rescue and salvage) operations are now over,” she said by telephone. A police statement said bodies were taken out after rescuers sliced through the crushed carriages with mechanical cutters and used cranes brought from Bangalore.
“It appears that the driver of the passenger train overshot a signal and hit the goods train, but we are awaiting the results of an inquiry,” Mukherjee said.
Television footage from the scene showed mangled, upturned coaches with rescue workers carrying injured passengers out on stretchers by torchlight before dawn. Rescuers and medical officials worked through the day, hacking through the twisted metal to get to those trapped inside the overturned carriages.