25 killed in MP twin train derailments

25 killed in MP twin train derailments

25 killed in MP twin train derailments

Twenty five people were killed and 50 others injured when two express trains passing each other derailed on a railway bridge struck by flash floods in Harda district of Madhya Pradesh in the dead of night.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan put the death toll at 25 (11 identified and 14 unidentified).

More than 17 coaches and one engine tumbled down into a rain-swollen river in the twin derailments that occurred around the same time at about 11:30 pm on Tuesday night. The accident involved Varanasi-bound Kamayani Express from Mumbai, which capsized first, and the Mumbai-bound Janta express originating from Patna that was coming from the opposite direction.

Divisional Railway Manager, Bhopal, Alok Kumar said: “We have found 11 bodies in Janata Express and one in Kamayani Express. About others, we are not sure — whether they were from nearby villages and victims of the flash flood (or railway passengers). We will revise the figure once all the bodies are identified....If their relatives identified them and if it was found that they belong to villages near the site, then it would be construed that they are not passengers. Otherwise, we will count them as victims of mishap,” he said.

The Railway Ministry has ordered an inquiry and announced an enhanced ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of the kin of deceased. Officials said over 250 passengers have been rescued.

There were conflicting versions on the exact number of casualties in the accident that occurred between Khirkiya and Bhirangi stations on Khandwa-Itarsi sections, 160 km from Bhopal, after 500-metre rail tracks over a small bridge sank in sudden surge of water caused by heavy rain in the area. Passengers said they were thrown off by the falling bogies which were quickly filled with muddy water.  “We felt the jerk instantly. When we opened the door and checked, there was water everywhere. In no time, the train tilted. And we all got trapped and were stuck for three hours,” a survivor said.

“The water level on the track was almost waist-high,” said another survivor.

At the accident side, coaches were lying on their side, tracks were broken, uprooted and scattered, and a detached train wheel was visible in one section.