Rescuers are combing through mangled wreckage after a train derailed in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state.


Rescuers are combing through mangled wreckage after a train derailed in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state.

At least 133 people died when the Indore-Patna Express came off the rails at 03:00 local time on Sunday (21:30 GMT Saturday), near the city of Kanpur.

The death toll could rise further as rescuers continue work, and with many of the injured in critical conditions.

The cause of the crash is not known, although reports said a fractured rail could be to blame.

Train accidents are fairly common in India, where much of the rail infrastructure and rolling stock is out of date.

Early on Monday the railway ministry published a list of names of injured passengers. Out of the 180 listed, 56 were said to be “grievously injured”.


‘Mangled beyond recognition’ – Zubair Ahmed, BBC Hindi, Indore-Patna Express crash site

Rescue workers search for survivors in the wreckage of a derailed train near Pukhrayan in Kanpur district on November 20, 2016Image copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionLuggage and clothes are strewn all over the train tracks

Hundreds are taking part in the rescue operation, using machines to cut through the mangled metal or using their bare hands to remove the debris, as police hold back curious onlookers from nearby villages.

Two carriages are completely smashed up beyond recognition. Several other carriages are hanging off the tracks precariously.

Personal effects of passengers – bags, clothes, water bottles – are strewn all over the place. I can see a woman’s red dress hanging off the roof of a carriage.

Officials are saying that those still trapped in the wreckage are probably dead by now.

There are two giant cranes trying to remove carriages that have already been cleared of bodies, but it’s proving difficult because they’re badly damaged. I saw one carriage that was being lifted up suddenly fall to the ground – the crane could not handle it properly.

The derailment had the strongest impact on the first two carriages of the train, which crashed into each other and overturned. Most of the victims were located in these carriages.

According to the Indian Express the carriages were outdated. The report said the government had promised earlier this year to upgrade all trains.

The train may have also been carrying far more passengers that it was supposed to, reports said.

Although the official number of passengers was about 1,200, the Times of India said as many as another 500 could have been on the train without tickets, citing unnamed railway officials as sources.

Survivors, most of whom were sleeping at the time of the crash, described horrific scenes.

Media captionRescuers are desperately trying to reach people trapped inside
Rescuers work at the site after 14 coaches of an overnight passenger train rolled off the track near Pukhrayan village in Kanpur Dehat district of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Monday, 21 November 2016Image copyrightAP
Image captionSome carriages were piled up on top of one another
Rescue works continue at the site of an accident where coaches of an Indore-Patna Express train derailed off the tracks, near Pukhrayan area, in Kanpur, India, 21 November 2016.Image copyrightEPA
Image captionThe carriages were badly mangled
Relatives identify the luggage of a family member who was killed in a train accident in Kanpur on 21 November 2016, after a deadly train derailment.Image copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionAnxious relatives of missing passengers have reached the scene and are trying to identify luggage

“I woke up suddenly around 3.10am and felt a tremor. The train came to a screeching halt. All of a sudden, I was crushed under a crowd of people… everyone was screaming for help,” survivor Yaqoob Ahmed told the Hindustan Times.

“There was a loud sound like an earthquake. I fell from my berth and a lot of luggage fell over me,” another passenger named Ramchandra Tewari was quoted by AP as saying. “I thought I was dead, and then I passed out.”

Anxious relatives of missing passengers have reached the scene. One man from Patna said he spotted a hand sticking out in the debris wearing a ring which he recognised as his brother’s.

“I’m certain that it’s my brother’s body but it’s not been removed yet,” he told the BBC.

India Kanpur map

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families.

“Prayers with those injured in the tragic train accident.”

Mr Modi also promised compensation to the victims’ relatives and injured passengers, and said he had spoken to Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu.

On his own Twitter account, Mr Prabhu warned that “strictest possible action will be taken against those who could be responsible for accident”.

India’s vast rail network

The world’s third longest by track

22 million

passenger journeys per day


railway related deaths in 2014

  • 115,000km of track; 7,112 stations
  • 1.3 million staff in 2014-15
  • $25bn revenue in 2014-15
  • 5.29 times more likely to die on the road than the railways

India’s worst rail disasters

The Gaisal train crash in 1999Image copyrightAP
Image captionThe Gaisal crash in 1999 killed at least 290 people

Bihar, 6 Jun 1981: 250 deaths confirmed as passenger train derails on a bridge and plunges into the Baghmati river. Hundreds more are never found, with an estimated death toll ranging from 500 to 800

Firozabad, 20 Aug 1995: 358 people are killed as an express train hits a stationary express train

Khanna, 26 Nov 1998: At least 212 killed as a train collides with a derailed train

Gaisal, Assam, 2 Aug 1999: At least 290 killed as two trains carrying a total of 2,500 people collide

Rafiganj, 10 Sept 2002: Rajdhani Express derails on bridge, killing at least 130

West Midnapore, West Bengal, 28 May 2010: The Calcutta-Mumbai passenger train derails, killing at least 100. Police blame Maoist sabotage of the track

Kanpur is a major railway junction and hundreds of trains pass through it every day.

Last year, the government announced investments of $137bn (£111bn) over five years to modernise and expand the railways.