North India shivers under fog blanket, 10 killed in three train accidents | india | Hindustan Times
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North India shivers under fog blanket, 10 killed in three train accidents

Fog wreaked havoc across north India on Saturday, causing three train accidents that left at least 10 people dead and 70 others injured. Nearly 200 flights were either delayed or cancelled, stranding thousands of passengers at airports, report HT Correspondents.Helpline numbers: 05122303015, 05122323016 | Flights resume after 8-hour delay

india Updated: Jan 03, 2010 00:41 IST
HT Correspondents

Fog wreaked havoc across north India on Saturday, causing three train accidents that left at least 10 people dead and 70 others injured. Nearly 200 flights were either delayed or cancelled, stranding thousands of passengers at airports.

In New Delhi, the chaos came despite a modernised airport and claims that it’s well equipped to handle foggy weather. All flight operations were suspended for over eight hours.

The northern grid also tripped overnight, plunging much of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh into darkness

A cold wave killed at least 24 people in Uttar Pradesh for want of shelter, warm clothing or access to a doctor.

Weather officials said foggy conditions are likely to continue for the next 48 hours.

After a relatively clear December, dense fog enveloped Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, cutting visibility to less than 50 metres.

Although two runways are equipped with ‘CAT IIIB’ landing systems that can guide pilots to land even in visibility of as little as 50 m, damaged cables prevented it from working. Till evening, the system for one runway had been repaired and was operating on standby mode.

“The equipment is not working for the past three days. Why didn’t the met department fix it in time?” said an airline official who didn’t wish to be named.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation came down heavily on the airport authorities in an emergency meeting. Private airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd. has been asked to repair the cables immediately and a standby system for making the equipment operational has been airlifted from Pune.

On Saturday, at least 17 international flights and one domestic flight had to be diverted to other airports, and 200 were delayed – some up to 12 hours, airport officials said.

For the Railways, too, it was a logistics nightmare. As many as 61 trains were delayed, 26 re-scheduled and 13 diverted, while 3 trains were cancelled.

The worst hit was the Delhi-Howrah track, which reported all of Saturday’s three accidents. Two of them did not result in fatalities. The other one, a collision between two express trains near Kanpur, left 10 people dead and more than 50 injured.