LUCKNOW: With the death toll from the Kanpur train tragedy likely to go up, 103 bodies, of which 37 were identified, have so far been extricated from under the debris of the mangled coaches of the Indore-Patna Express.
Coaches S1, S2, S3, S4, S5 and S6 along with four AC compartments and four general bogies were the worst affected. “Following the derailment, the S2 coach climbed atop S3,” said a railway officer supervising rescue operations. Over 100 passengers are grievously injured,” said IG Zaki Ahmad, adding that 150 escaped with minor injuries.
Huge cranes and gas cutters were used to cut through the twisted metal of the coaches to reach the survivors and extricate the bodies. However, with several passengers feared trapped, the use of gas cutters was minimalised and cold cutters were used instead as the former were producing excessive heat leading to suffocation.
“Locals residents rushed to the spot and started pulling out the people — both dead and injured — from the damaged coaches with the help of district police and the fire department. They were later assisted by National Disaster Response Force personnel and NCC and NSS volunteers and schoolchildren. There were many people trapped inside the 14 derailed coaches and the death toll is likely to go up,” said ASP Kanpur Manoj Sonker.
“The rescue teams are also deploying hydraulic equipment to ensure that all the trapped passengers are evacuated safely from the affected coaches,” said NDRF chief R K Pachnanda at the accident site.
A column comprising a team of 90 Army personnel accompanied by a medical column of four doctors, 20 paramedics and two ambulances from Kanpur were also deployed for rescue and relief operations. Army and air force ambulances, train ambulances besides vans and buses were lined up to ferry the injured to nearby hospitals. All the government and private hospitals in and around Kanpur have been asked to provide immediate medical aid to the injured.
The railways has launched the following helpline numbers — Indore-07411072, Ujjain- 07342560906, Ratlam- 074121072, Orai-051621072, Jhansi-05101072, Pokhraya- 05113270239.
North Central Railway General Manager Arun Srivastava said traffic on the Kanpur-Jhansi section would be opened in 36 hours. Several trains remained cancelled and many others were diverted after the tragedy.
Rail fracture due to the contraction of the track could be the cause of accident as the train was running at a high speed of 110 km per hour, said a railways source. The railways has ordered an inquiry into the accident.
Meanwhile in Assam’s Biswanath district, four children were killed when a train hit them in the wee hours of Sunday. The children, aged between 10 and 14, were crossing the railway tracks while returning from a Kartik Puja mela in the Borgang area of the district when the incident happened. And in Chhattisgarh, 14 bogies of a goods train derailed between the Silyari and Mandhar stations, around 22 km from the capital Raipur, leading to the disruption of rail traffic on the Howrah-Mumbai route. No one was reported hurt. (With PTI inputs)