Andhra Pradesh train accident death toll rises to 14

Two carriages derailed after one train was hit from behind by the other

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The death toll from a train crash in India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh has risen to 14, with more than two dozen passengers undergoing treatment.

Two carriages derailed on Sunday evening after one train was hit from the rear by another in Vizianagaram district.

“A total of 14 people have lost their lives in the accident so far and around 50 others [were] injured, of which 29 people [were] admitted to the hospital and the rest have been discharged,” said Biswajit Sahoo, chief public relations officer of the East Coast Railway, a unit of Indian Railways.

The first train was travelling from Visakhapatnam to Palasa, in Andhra Pradesh, while the second train was travelling from Vizianagaram to Rayagada, in the eastern Odisha state.

Railway Minister Aswini Vaishnaw said nine Visakhapatnam-Rayagada train carriages were pulled back to the previous station.

Authorities said the accident was probably due to human error. It took place after the driver of the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada train overshot a signal, rear-ending the other train on the same track.

“The Visakhapatnam-Palasa train was waiting on the track between Alamanda and Kantakpalli railway stations of the Kothavalasa block when the collision took place,” said Sourabh Prasad, divisional railway manager.

The accident disrupted rail services, with as many as 40 trains cancelled and the same number either partially cancelled or rescheduled, Mr Sahoo said.

“We expect that rescue and relief will be over and railway tracks will be fitted by this evening,” he said.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has announced compensation of one million rupees ($12,000) for the families of those killed and 200,000 rupees for the injured.

The accident comes after another train derailed in the eastern state of Bihar on October 12, killing at least four people and injuring more than 70.

More than 300 people were killed while hundreds were injured in June when two express trains and a freight train collided, derailing a dozen passenger carriages in Odisha, in one of the country's worst rail accidents.

India has the world's second-largest railway network, which is managed by Indian Railways, and the fourth-largest network in the world behind the US, China and Russia.

In recent years, safety standards have improved and the number of accidents has fallen. The government says it plans to invest about $130 billion to modernise the decades-old network.

Updated: October 30, 2023, 10:26 AM