New Delhi, India (BBN)-More than 100 people were killed while hundreds were seriously injured after Indore-Patna express train derailed near Kanpur early Sunday morning.
The accident, one of the country’s worst rail disasters in recent years, occurred at around 3:00am, near Pukhrayan, about 100 kms from Kanpur, when the passengers were fast asleep, reports the Times of India.
“The death toll has topped 100 now,” said Daljit Singh Chawdhary, the additional police director-general.
The death toll may rise further as the rescue officials are still pulling out those trapped inside.
Shocked passengers recounted being woken by a violent thud, and told of their desperate search for loved-ones on the train.
“We woke up to a great thud this morning. It was pitch dark and the noise was deafening,” one passenger told news agency AFP as he waited with his family at the scene.
“I am lucky to be alive and safe. It was a near-death experience for us,” another survivor said.
It is the worst disaster since 2010 when a passenger train crashed into a freight train in the eastern state of West Bengal, killing 146 and injuring over 200.
Anxious relatives thronged the station on Indore in central India where the train originated, many clutching pictures of their loved-ones.
Railway officials said special trains had been pressed into service for stranded travellers.
National Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said in a tweet the government would investigate what caused the derailment and announced compensation for the victims.
The railways ministry launched helpline numbers for the kin of those travelling and also announced that the stranded passengers are being moved from site to the Malasa station, adding that the injured passengers are being taken to the Kanpur Dehat hospital.
“All hospitals have been asked to be on alert. More than 30 ambulances have been pressed into service,” IG (Kanpur range) Zaki Ahmed told PTI.
Over 250 police officials are carrying out the rescue and relief operations.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have also reached the spot and have swung into action along with the police, pulling out bodies and providing aid to the victims.
Various compensations have been announced for those killed and seriously injured in the tragic accident.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for kin of deceased and Rs 50, 000 for seriously injured in the accident.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu also announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 3.5 lakh for the families of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 for those critically injured in Patna-Indore Express derailment incident.
Prabhu also announced compensation of Rs. 25,000 for those who sustained minor injuries.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for families of those killed in derailment and Rs 50,000 for seriously injured.