New Delhi, Jan 21, 2017 (AFP) -At least 13 people were killed and around 100 injured after an express train derailed in southeastern India in the latest disaster to hit one the world’s largest rail networks.
Seven coaches and the engine of the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar express derailed at 11 pm local time on Saturday (1730 GMT) near Kuneru railway station in the Vizianagram district of Andhra Pradesh state.
“Thirteen people are confirmed dead and scores are injured,” J. P. Mishra, a spokesman for East Coast Railways told AFP.
“The injured have been shifted to two nearby hospitals,” he said.
Officials from the railway and local government were carrying out rescue work and relief trains had been sent to evacuate passengers, he said.
He did not immediately give a cause for the derailment.
The train was travelling from Jagdalpur city to l Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha state, when it came off the track, nearly 160 kilometres (100 miles) from Visakhapatnam, the nearest city to the accident site.
Rail traffic on the coast line has been suspended.
The incident comes nearly two months after 146 people were killed when a passenger train was derailed in Kanpur, northern India.
Last month two people were killed and dozens injured after another train derailed also near Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh state.
India’s railway network is still the main form of long-distance travel in the vast country, but it is poorly funded and deadly accidents occur relatively frequently.
In 2014, an express train ploughed into a stationary freight train, also in Uttar Pradesh, killing 26 people.
A 2012 government report said almost 15,000 people were killed every year on India’s railways and described the loss of life as an annual “massacre”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has pledged to invest $137 billion over five years to modernise its crumbling railways, making them safer, faster and more efficient. – AFP