BENGALURU: At least twelve passengers were killed and more than 60 injured, several critically, when nine bogies of the Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter City Express derailed near here today after a boulder fell on the track.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who spoke to Karnataka Home Minister K.J. George, told reporters in Kochi that a Kerala delegation led by Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed has left for the accident site.
The train had left Bengaluru at 0615 hrs and derailed at 0735 hrs between Anekal Road and Hosur on Bangalore City-Salem Section, about 45 km from Bengaluru, Railways said.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said a boulder fell on the track and the train hit it.
"I am personally monitoring it and in touch with State and local administration," he tweeted.
Prabhu said he has directed all senior officers to rush to the spot with help. Law Minister Sadanand Gowda has reached the accident site, near the border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The Railway Board Chairman had been directed to evacuate all stranded passengers, besides which medical help had been rushed, he said.
"Five deaths (confirmed) so far," Bangalore Divisional Railway Manager Anil Kumar Agarwal, who rushed to the accident site, said.
"At least five to six persons have died. Exact number of casualties would be known after some time as rescue and relief operations are still underway," Karnataka Home Minister K J George told reporters here.
Prabhu said an inquiry had been ordered to fix responsibility and for corrective action to prevent such unfortunate accidents. He said he was monitoring "action" regularly.
"All rescue teams are here, including police, medical and Railways. All measures have been taken to rescue the trapped persons," George said.
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Relief and rescue operations are on in full swing with medical teams from both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on the spot. Police and Railway officials said efforts were being made to reach those trapped inside the derailed bogies.
The injured have been rushed to hospitals in nearby Hosur and Bengaluru, they said.
"I am on way to Bangalore to visit accident site to help all stranded. All possible help will be rendered to families affected," Prabhu said.
The Minister said he would be visiting the accident site to personally monitor the operation.
"I am on way to Bangalore to visit accident site to help all stranded. All possible help will be rendered to families affected," he added.
Help desks have been set up at Bangalore City Railway Station and at the accident site.
Karnataka Health Minister U T Khader said here that medical teams have been rushed from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
He said according to information available with state authorities, more than 50 people were injured.
Meanwhile, railway sources in Thiruvananthapuram said two of those who died were Kerala-bound passengers.
Two coaches of the train had together 108 Kerala-bound passengers. Of these D8 had 60 and D9 48 passengers travelling to Kerala, a senior railway official said.
The Railways have arranged special buses from Kochi for relatives of the passengers to visit the accident site.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has assigned Electricity Minister Aryuadan Muhammad and senior district officials from Palakkad and Kasargode to the accident site to co-ordinate relief work and medical aid for those involved in the accident.