Train derails in eastern India; at least 7 people dead


At least seven people were killed and 24 left injured after several train coaches derailed in Sahadai Buzurg, in the Vaishali district of the north Indian state of Bihar on Sunday.

According to reports, the Seemanchal Express train was on its way to Delhi from Jogbani and was traveling at full speed when 11 carriages derailed and went off the tracks at around 04:00 local time (22:30 GMT). The exact cause of the derailment is not yet known, and rescue efforts are still ongoing.

Local television footage showed huge crowds gathered near the accident site as emergency workers cleared the upturned wagons.

Rescue teams with sniffer dogs sifted through the damaged carriages looking for trapped passengers.

Most of the travelers were asleep when the train traveling at 55 kilometers (34 miles) an hour came off the tracks.

“I was sleeping and suddenly there was a big bang and found myself under a pile of bags,” passenger Mahesh Kumar told reporters.

A “rail fracture” caused the accident, Indian Railways said in a statement after an initial investigation.

The company promised a thorough probe of the accident, which came days after the Indian government said it had improved rail safety.

Cash compensation of 500,000 rupees ($7,000) would be given to the relatives of those killed, the railways ministry said.

Railways minister Piyush Goyal on Friday had claimed to have improved rail safety after a series of deadly accidents spooked the country.

Goyal told parliament that all unmanned rail crossing had been eliminated, one of the main causes of train collusion in India.

India’s railway network is the main form of long-distance transport, but has been lagging in improving its infrastructure, often leading to disasters.

Nearly 150 people were killed after a passenger train derailed in Bihar in 2016, the deadliest accident in recent years.

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