50 dead in India train crash

July 19, 2010 12:00 am

, KOLKATA, Jul 19 – A speeding express rammed into the back of a stationary passenger train in eastern India on Monday, killing more than 50 people and trapping others in the wreckage, officials said.

The standing train was waiting to leave a station in Birbhum district, around 200 kilometres north of the West Bengal state capital Kolkata, when the express slammed into its rear carriages.

The force of the impact lifted one wagon clear off the tracks and left it mounted on an overhead passenger bridge. An estimated 120 people were injured in the collision, 40 of them seriously, local police said.

Bodies and badly injured travellers were being pulled from the crumpled mass of steel by emergency services and members of a huge crowd of onlookers who had gathered around the site of the accident.

"The death toll has crossed 50. We are still struggling to pull out some bodies," senior police officer Humayun Kabir told AFP by telephone from the scene.

It was not immediately clear what caused the accident, which occurred at around 2030 GMT Sunday when most passengers were sleeping.

It came less than two months after a train collision blamed on Maoist saboteurs killed nearly 150 people in West Bengal.

In that incident, a Mumbai-bound high-speed passenger express from Kolkata veered off the tracks into the path of an oncoming freight train. Police officials said a section of the track had been removed.

"We still have doubts in our minds about who is this behind this accident," Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is from West Bengal, told reporters before leaving for the accident site.


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