M A I N   N E W S

4 killed as train rams into van

Chennai, December 15
Four pilgrims were killed and 10 injured when a speeding train rammed into a van at an unmanned level crossing near Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu today, railway sources said.

The accident occurred this morning between Mundiyambakkam and Vikravandi stations of Chennai division, when the Thiruvanathapuram-Chennai Ananthapuri express hit the van carrying Ayyappa devotees returning from Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

All the victims were travelling in the van, the sources said, adding that while three died on the spot, one died en route to hospital.

Meanwhile, the Southern Railway blamed the driver of the van for the mishap.

“The cause of the accident is identified as negligence on the part of the driver of the van who did not follow the precautions provided under the Motor Vehicles Act for crossing unmanned level crossings,” a railway release said here.

“All the safety precautions to be adopted at the unmanned level crossings, like proper road surface, and warning signals are properly maintained at this location. Visibility for road users for approaching trains was also good and the track is visible for a distance of 600 metres on either side,” it said.

The mishap occurred when the van stopped on the broad gauge track seeing a metre gauge train, proceeding to Chennai from Villupuram, coming on a nearby metre gauge track.

Before the van could start moving, the Ananthapuri express came and collided with the van, the release said.

Senior railway officials, including Divisional Railway Manager N. Jayaraman, rushed to the spot and also visited the injured in hospital. — PTI

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