The Uttar Pradesh government mounted rescue operations on a war-footing on Sunday, creating a high-speed corridor between Lucknow and Kanpur for ambulances ferrying passengers injured in an early morning train crash.
At least 100 people died and more than 100 injured when 14 coaches of the Patna-Indore Express flew off the rails around 3am near Pukhrayan, about 100km from Kanpur, said Kanpur Dehat superintendent of police (SP) Prabhkar Chaudhary.
Police say the death and injured toll may mount as many bodies are feared trapped under mangled train compartments.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force and PAC have reached the site and passengers stuck inside the bogies are being taken out. Twenty injured passengers have been admitted to the Hallet Hospital in Kanpur.
Two other hospitals —Lucknow’s Trauma Centre 1 and 2 at the King George’s Medical University (KGMU) — have also been readied to treat any injured passenger.
“We are ready with team of experts. If any patient comes we shall treat them,” said professor Ravi Kant, vice chancellor, KGMU.
All ambulances carrying passengers to various hospitals in Kanpur and Lucknow are being provided safe and quick passage under the “green corridor” by the state police department.
This is probably the first time a “green corridor” – a stretch where traffic signals are manually operated to avoid congestion and give passage to vehicles in exigencies -- has been created for a train accident.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the family of each deceased passenger, Rs 50,000 for the seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for those with minor injuries.
Maximum damage was reported in the S-1 and S-2 coaches, along with seating-cum-luggage rake coach, the AC-1, two general class coaches and the S-3,4,5 and six coaches.
The Jhansi-Kanpur rail route has been affected after the incident. Several trains, including Pushpak express, have been diverted. The Railways have issued helplines for relatives of the passengers.