NEW DELHI (AP) — Two passenger trains derailed Friday in India, killing at least 50 people and trapping hundreds of others inside more than a dozen damaged rail cars, officials said.
About 400 people were taken to hospitals after the accident, which happened in eastern India, about 140 miles southwest of Kolkata, officials said. The cause was under investigation.
Ten to 12 coaches of one train derailed, and debris from some of the mangled coaches fell onto a nearby track. The debris was hit by another passenger train coming from the opposite direction, said Amitabh Sharma, a railroad ministry spokesperson.
Up to three coaches of the second train also derailed.
The Press Trust of India news agency reported that a third train carrying freight was also involved, but there was no immediate confirmation from railroad authorities.
Dattatraya Bhausaheb Shinde, the top administrator in the Balasore district, said at least 50 people were dead. The Press Trust reported a death toll of at least 70.
Nearly 500 police officers and rescue workers with 75 ambulances and buses responded to the scene, said Pradeep Jena, the top bureaucrat of the Odisha state.
Rescuers were attempting to free 200 people feared trapped in the wreckage, said D.B. Shinde, administrator of the state's Balasore district.
The Press Trust said the derailed Coromandel Express was traveling from Howrah in West Bengal state to Chennai, the capital of southern Tamil Nadu state.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his thoughts were with the bereaved families.
"May the injured recover soon,” tweeted Modi, who said he had spoken to the railway minister and that “all possible assistance” was being offered.
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