Source Pravda.Ru

Death toll in Indian train crash up to 114

Recovery workers on Monday pulled three more bodies out of the wreckage of a partially submerged train in southern India, bringing the toll from Saturday's train crash to 114, officials said. The accident occurred early Saturday in the town of Veligonda in Andhra Pradesh state after flash floods washed away a portion of the track, sending a train plummeting into a rain-swollen river.

Rescue and recovery efforts were officially called off Sunday after chances of finding survivors faded, but workers engaged in dismantling the coaches still partly under water, found three bodies crushed inside a carriage and retrieved them, said Thomas Verghese, a Railway spokesman.

Also Monday, the Commissioner of Railway Safety R. P. Agarwal said an inquiry into the cause of the accident had been launched.

Visiting the site, Agarwal said an interim report of the inquiry would be submitted within two weeks and a final report in three months, according to the AP.

Meanwhile, the state's Opposition Leader Chandrababu Naidu blamed the accident on poor communication between government departments and the railways. Naidu said the irrigation department and local police did not inform the railways about the flooding in the area.

Rains have battered southern India for more than a week, claiming at least 90 other lives in Andhra Pradesh and the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Most of those drowned, but some were electrocuted or crushed under falling buildings.

Three days of particularly heavy rain caused three reservoirs to breach their banks, triggering the flash floods.

Every day, at least 13 million people use India's accident-plagued state-run rail network. Around 300 accidents involving trains occur in India each year, most of which are blamed on lax safety standards.

T.E.

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