Hundreds were trapped in the twisted carriages of the Indore-Patna Express when, halfway through its journey to the city of Patna, it came off the track just after 3am local time on Sunday, near the city of Kanpur. Fourteen of the train’s carriages derailed in the country’s worst train crash since 2010. The majority of the victims were located in the two carriages closest to the engine, which overturned.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that India’s National Disaster Response Force was overseeing the rescue efforts. Rescuers are using heavy machinery to desperately search for survivors and recover the dead. The senior railway official Pratap Rai said, “We are using every tactic to save lives but it’s very difficult to cut the metal carriages.”
One passenger whose carriage did not derail said that the train was going at normal speed before it stopped, then started up again. Most people were sleeping at the time of the accident. Passenger Krishna Keshav said, “We woke with a jolt at around 3am. Several coaches were derailed, everybody was in shock. I saw several bodies and injured people.” Another survivor, Ravindra Pathak, said “All of a sudden there was a massive jerk. Our heads collided with the roof of the carriage.
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.”
India’s rail network is one of the world’s most vast and is the world’s third longest by track, employing more than 1.3 million staff and with more than 22 million passenger journeys per day. Unfortunately train accidents are still all too common in India due to its outdated equipment and technology. The Indian government in 2015 announced its plans to invest approximately $137 billion into updating and expanding the country’s deteriorating rail networks over the next five years.