At least nine people were killed and dozens injured after 12 coaches of a train derailed in India’s eastern West Bengal state, officials said on Friday, raising the death toll by four after after rescuers found more bodies overnight.
The Guwahati-Bikaner Express train derailed near the Maynaguri town of Jalpaiguri district at around 5pm.
Many passengers were trapped in the mangled carriages and rescue teams had to cut the coaches open to free survivors and recover the bodies of victims. Two teams from National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), comprising 100 personnel, were sent to the crash site.
District magistrate Moumita Godara Basu earlier told the The National that there were five confirmed deaths and about 45-50 injured who were taken to government hospitals for treatment.
"The rescue work is almost over but the teams of NDRF and State Defence Relief Force, civil defence volunteers and administration are here...in some bogies gas-cutter work is still ongoing...it is unlikely anyone has survived but most passengers have been rescued," he said
Television news channels showed images of the derailed carriages as rescued passengers stood in shock, some with their luggage.
“I felt a sudden jolt and the train derailed … there was a commotion. When we ran outside, we saw the trains derailed,” a passenger told a local news channel.
An inquiry committee was set up to look into the accident.
“In an unfortunate accident, 12 Coaches of Bikaner — Guwahati EXP. derailed near New Maynaguri (West Bengal) this evening. Personally monitoring the situation for swift rescue operations,” Ashwini Vaishnaw, the railways minister, said.
The government announced compensation for the families of the victims and those injured.
The train was carrying a total of 1,200 passengers, and had started from Bikaner district in the western state of Rajasthan.