Hampi Express accident, 25 killed ,43 injured

Rail Transport Museum Class 59 No 5910 light e...
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PENUKONDA: At least 25 passengers were killed, 16 of them charred, and 43 injured when the Bangalore- bound Hampi Express rammed into a stationary goods train after its driver apparently overshot the signal near the station here in the wee hours on Tuesday.

The impact of the collision that took place at 3:15am was such that four bogies of the express train derailed and one of them caught fire near Penukonda station in Andhra Pradesh coming under Bangalore division of South Western Railway.

Shocked survivors said it was an unbearable and gory sight to see fellow passengers burning and screaming for help as they stood helpless due to the searing heat. The cries of burning passengers still rang in their ears, they said on arrival in Bangalore, about 150 km from here.

Most of the victims were labourers coming from Hubli and Hospet in Karnataka and were on their way to Bangalore.

"As of now, 25 people have died and 43 people are injured in the train tragedy. The injured have been shifted to different hospitals across Anantpur district," railway minister Mukul Roy, who rushed to the accident site, told reporters.

"Prima facie it seems that the driver of Hampi Express overshot the signal," railway spokesperson Anil Saxena said in Delhi.

Deputy inspector general of police (Anantapur range) Charu Sinha said the injured have been admitted to nearby hospitals at Penukonda, Hindupur and Anantapur.

"Rescuers used metal cutters to get inside the bogies where passengers were stuck," Anantpur superintendent of police Shahnawaz Qasim said, adding fire fighters and railway officers helped police in rescue operations.

An amount of Rs 25000 would be provided to those with minor injuries, Roy said, adding that the railways would provide jobs to family members of the deceased.

"Employment will be offered to family members of the deceased within the framework of Railways," he said.

Roy said safety was the first priority and railways have been exploring the possibility of introducing the train protection warning system on electrified routes as in many European countries.

However, at this juncture it would be not fair on his part to say it would be introduced in one year's time, he said.

Karnataka chief minister Sadananda Gowda, who also rushed to the accident site, announced a compensation of Rs one lakh each for the families of those killed and Rs 25,000 for those injured.

South Western Railway has made arrangements to transport stranded passengers from Penukonda to Bangalore by buses and trains.

The damaged track has been restored, railways said, adding that three trains were cancelled and five running late due to the mishap.

Minister blames driver, says driver jumped signal

NEW DELHI: The train accident in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh occurred as the Bangalore-bound Hampi Express jumped the signal at Penukonda station, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday.
Minister of state for railways Bharatsinh Solanki said that as per preliminary information, the incident occurred when a stationary goods train was hit from behind by the incoming Hampi Express. As a result, two coaches of the passenger train derailed and the first derailed coach caught fire. He said that an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of deceased, Rs 1 lakh to the grievously injured and Rs 50,000 to those who sustained simple injury has been announced. While some members from the Left demanded job to the next of kin of those who lost their lives in the accident, Basvaraj Patil Sedam (BJP) demanded legal action against those responsible for the accident.

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