At least 90 people were killed and more than 150 injured following the derail of an Indian express train in northern Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.
About 20 people were still missing as authorities were trying to investigate what caused 14 carriages of the train – traveling between the northeastern city of Patna and the central city of Indore – to suddenly roll off the tracks in Pukhrayan, 65 kilometers south of Kanpur city; according to police officials.
The toll is set to rise amid a desperate scramble to locate survivors from the mangled wreck, while this could be the worst rail tragedy since 2005, when a train was crushed by a rock and another plunged into a river – each killing more than 100 people.
“We are using every tactic to save lives but it’s very difficult to cut the metal carriages,” senior railway official Pratap, Rai, from the accident site.
The packed train, operated by the Indian government, derailed in the early hours of Sunday when more than 500 passengers were sleeping, survivors said.
India’s creaking railway system is the world’s fourth largest, ferrying more than 20 million people each day, but it has a poor safety record, with thousands of people dying in accidents annually.
Suresh Prabhu, India’s Railways Minister, said in a tweet the government would immediately investigate the causes of the derailment and promised accountability with the “strictest possible action,” and compensation for the affected passengers.