Train collision in Chennai, 15 killed
At least 15 people were believed to be killed and up to 80 injured when two passenger trains collided in southern India yesterday, local police said.
"Three carriages were derailed by the impact and so far five bodies have been recovered," a local police official told AFP by telephone.
Inspector General (North Zone) Satyendra Babu told NDTV over 80 injured passengers have been rushed to hospital and seven bodies have been recovered so far. More than 100 police officials and firemen are involved in the rescue efforts. Navy personnel and two teams of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) are also at the site.
Eyewitnesses say that the accident occurred at 9:30pm, adding that three bogies have been derailed. Many passengers are trapped under the debris. Heavy rain and darkness are hampering rescue work.
The accident happened between Arakkonam and Chiteri, about 80 kilometres from Chennai. Outbound train services from Chennai disrupted due to the collision.
Television channels, which broadcast footage from the site showing rescue teams trying to cut their way into the wreckage, said up to 50 people had been injured.
India's state-run railway system -- still the main form of long-distance travel despite fierce competition from new private airlines -- carries 18.5 million people every day.
Experts say the system, the world's second largest under a single management, is desperately in need of new investment to improve safety and help end transport bottlenecks.
The last major accident occurred in July when a packed express train travelling from Kolkata to New Delhi derailed at high speed in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, killing 63 people.