Source Pravda.Ru

India: death toll from train derailment rises to 100

Rescue workers pulled 100 bodies from seven coaches of a passenger train that derailed and fell into a rain-swollen river in southern India on Saturday, railway officials said, warning that scores more people were still trapped inside.

"We have recovered 100 bodies so far. And some bodies may have been washed away" by the fast moving flood waters of the river, said Thomas Verghese, general manager of India's southern railway.

About 100 injured passengers had been rescued from the coaches, which derailed after floods washed away the tracks in the town of Veligonda in Andhra Pradesh state.

The injured had been flown by helicopters to hospitals in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, local police Inspector General Govind Singh said.

Army divers and local volunteers swam out to the coaches to help pull out the injured. Other soldiers, lowered onto the roof of the coaches by helicopter, used gas cutters to open up the top of coaches and pull out people, who were hanging on to luggage racks and ceiling fans.

Scores of passengers were still trapped inside the coaches, at least five of which were lying on their side, partially submerged in water. One of the coaches was resting on top of another.

Railway officials were waiting for cranes to reach the accident site to lift the submerged coaches from the water.

The train an engine and 17 coaches hit a portion of track washed away by flash floods, and seven coaches derailed, officials said.

The heavy rains also washed away many roads in the area, making it difficult for rescuers and ambulances to reach the accident site. Traffic jams stretched for kilometers (miles) on roads leading to Veligonda.

Three days of heavy downpours caused at least three water reservoirs to breach their banks, triggering the flash floods, said R. Velu, a federal junior minister for railways who visited the accident site.

Railway workers attached an engine to the rear of the train and pulled the 10 remaining cars to a safer section of the track, said Esther Kar, a railway ministry spokeswoman in New Delhi.

Rains have battered southern India for more than a week, claiming at least 90 lives in Andhra Pradesh and the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Most died due to drowning, electrocution and injuries caused by housing collapses, reported AP.