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At least 40 passengers were feared killed and nearly 100 injured in Uttar Pradesh’s Sant Kabir Nagar district on Monday in one of the worst train accidents in the country in recent times. The accident took place when the New Delhi-Gorakhpur Gorakhdham Express rammed a stationary freight train at the Churaid railway station at around 10.30am.
The numbers of people killed and injured were confirmed in a statement by UP director general of police AL Banerjee. The statement also said six coaches of the ill-fated train derailed after the collision.
Railway officials, however, had a different take on the accident. They said six coaches of the passenger train first derailed and then hit the stationary goods train on the adjacent line of the railway station. The injured included the express train’s driver and assistant driver, who were in a critical condition, a railway official said.
“The train derailed and collided with the goods train stationary on the next railway line. We are assessing the situation,” said AK Singh, chief spokesperson of North Eastern Railway.
The brunt of the crash was borne by the unreserved seating coach, which was carrying most of the 40 people feared killed, senior police officer Amrendra Sainger said.
Most of the victims were poor farm labourers returning to their homes from the neighbouring state of Haryana, local police official Zameer Ahmad said. The passenger train had left from Haryana’s Hisar town and was just 46km from its final destination of Gorakhpur when the accident took place.
Six coaches of Gorakhdham Express derail, 40 feared dead
Because of the remote location, “it was difficult to start rescue operations immediately,” Ahmad said. “By the time the police and rail officials reached the spot, local villagers and other passengers had moved the injured away,” he said.
Expressing grief, UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav sent senior cabinet minister Ahmad Hasan to the accident site more than 200km from Lucknow.
Rescuers were working to free people trapped under the toppled coaches and twisted metal. The railways announced compensation of `1 lakh each to the next of kin of the dead and `50,000 for the seriously injured.
(With agency inputs)
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