At least 60 dead in India train disaster
At least 60 people were killed yesterday after a train ploughed into revellers gathered to watch a Hindu festival in India’s northern Amritsar city, police said. The train hit a crowd standing on the railway line to watch a fireworks show during Dussehra celebrations, police and eyewitnesses said.
“There was a lot of noise as firecrackers were being let off and it appears they were unable to hear the approaching train,” a police official at the scene said. An eyewitness told a local TV channel there was “utter commotion” when the crowds noticed the train “coming very fast” towards them. “Everyone was running helter-skelter and suddenly another train crashed into the crowds of people,” he said. “There are more than 50 casualties. The priority now is to take the injured to the hospital,” Amritsar city police commissioner S. S. Srivastava told reporters. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has ordered an inquiry into the latest disaster.
“Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar. The tragedy is heart-wrenching. My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones&I pray that the injured recover quickly. Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required,” Modi tweeted. Home Minister Rajnath Singh also took to Twitter and expressed his condolence. “ Pained beyond words at the loss of precious lives due to a train tragedy during Dussehra festivities in #Punjab. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers with the injured,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.
The state government has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of each deceased and free treatment to injured in government and private hospitals. India is home to hundreds of railway crossings that are unmanned and particularly accident prone, with motorists often ignoring oncoming train warnings. Nearly 15,000 people die on the country’s railways every year, according to a 2012 government report.