Kanpur, India (BBN)-Rescue workers have called off the search for possible survivors in the wreckage of the Indore-Patna Express that went off track on Sunday, killing 143 passengers in their sleep and leaving hundreds injured.
Relatives on Monday waited at the accident site near Kanpur, where cranes and gas cutters were being used to pull out survivors – or bodies – from the crushed coaches, reports NDTV.
14 coaches were thrown off track when the Indore-Patna Express was speeding through Pukhrayan, a town around 60 km from Kanpur.
Passengers were jolted out of their sleep midway in the 27-hour journey between Indore and Patna by a loud bang, following by violent rattling as almost all the coaches leapt from the tracks and smashed up against each other.
One of the coaches in the front portion of the train was flattened and is still trapped under another coach.
Rescuers have been working in hope of finding survivors.
“I am looking for my brother,” said Ramanand Tiwari. His brother Rajmani was in one of the front coaches that suffered the maximum damage, but Tiwari was optimistic: “Who knows? He may have changed his seat…We have searched everywhere…”
A picture of growing despair, Nirmal Verma said he had found only dead relatives so far and didn’t expect his mother to survive. “Whoever I have found has died…my brother, my older sister-in-law, daughter…” he sobbed. He was meant to travel with his family to a wedding but couldn’t get leave from work and was supposed to join them later.
Hundreds of army men, police and National Disaster Response Force personnel were at work at the accident site, racing to rescue survivors and remove the train wreckage to get the track fixed and ready.
This is the worst accident in recent times for the Indian railways, the world’s fourth largest train network.
In 2010, a passenger train crashed into a freight train in Bengal, killing 146. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was “anguished beyond words”.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an investigation into the crash.
Officials said yesterday that a fault in the tracks could have caused the accident.