M A I N   N E W S

150 die as train derails, falls into rivulet in AP
Ramesh Khandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, October 29
A passenger train derailed after the track gave way due to incessant rains in the early hours of today, killing around 150 persons and injuring many more.

Most of the passengers were asleep when the engine and seven coaches of the Repalle-Secunderabad Delta Fast passenger train derailed around 4 am after the track was washed away by flash floods caused by heavy rain in the area.

The tragedy occurred between Ramannapet and Valligonda railway stations, near Nalgonda, around 70 km from Hyderabad.

Andhra Pradesh Home Minister K. Jana Reddy, speaking to reporters at the scene of the accident, said while 100 bodies had been retrieved, another 20 to 30 could have been trapped inside the coaches.

The rescue efforts of the Army and railway personnel were severely hampered by incessant rain and swirling waters caused by the depression that hit coastal Andhra Pradesh.

South Central Railway in-charge General Manager Thomas Verghese, who confirmed 70 causalities till 7 pm, said the immediate task was to retrieve the bodies stuck in the coaches.

“It might take 10 days to restore the track,” he said.

Rescue officials said bodies had been recovered only from two coaches and there could be many more trapped dead in the other compartments.

The driver of the train, Samuel, was found dead, while the assistant driver, Srinivas, was in a state of shock.

“I felt a tremble and even before I could reach out to my daughter and son, they were washed away,” said an inconsolable survivor.

While the official machinery reached the scene only five hours after the tragedy, it was the villagers from nearby hamlets who rescued most of the passengers.

Over 300 injured have been shifted to the Nalgonda General Hospital and Secunderabad Railway Hospital.

The Minister of State for Railway and the Railway Board Chairman reached the accident scene and supervised relief operations.

The rescue operations, stopped for the night in view of the hostile weather conditions, are likely to continue for another two days as the bodies have been washed away far from the accident scene.


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