At least 62 passengers were on Wednesday injured when 15 coaches of the Sealdah-Ajmer Express derailed while it was crossing a bridge near Rura Railway Station in Kanpur Rural district, the second rail accident in the region in two months.
The accident occurred at 5.30 am when 13 sleeper coaches and two general compartments of the Ajmer-bound train ‘12987’ from Sealdah in West Bengal jumped the track on the bridge over a dry canal nearly 70 km from Kanpur, North Central Railways PRO Amit Malviya said.
Two of the coaches fell into the canal but as there was not much water, it prevented a major calamity, he said, adding bogies starting from the sixth one from the engine were affected.
42 of the injured were admitted at Mati district hospital in Kanpur (Rural), while 20 seriously injured were undergoing treatment at the Hallet hospital including a six-year-old girl, identified as Shreya, who had suffered head injuries, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Ramayan Prasad said.
While soon after the mishap IG (Kanpur range) Zaki Ahmed said two of the seriously injured passengers had died, General Manager, North Central Railway, Arun Saxena as well as the CMO said there has no information of any death.
There were unconfirmed reports that the railway guard was among those injured.
Rescue operations are over with all passengers pulled out of the derailed coaches, Malviya said, adding the cause of the accident was not immediately known.
An inquiry will be conducted by Commissioner Railway Safety, North zone, Shailesh Kumar.
Though the real reasons behind the derailment would be ascertained after the completion of the inquiry, prime facie it seems a possible fracture on the track caused the mishap, sources in the railways said.
The incident comes a month after over 150 people were killed and more than 200 injured when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed in Kanpur Rural district on November 20. While the final report about the mishap is yet to be submitted, initial report had suggested rail fracture as possible reason for it.
Both train mishaps involving derailment of several coaches had occurred in the early morning hours near Kanpur.
Traffic on Delhi-Howrah route was disrupted after the incident and nearly a dozen trains were diverted. The traffic is expected to be restored by Thursday morning.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said he was personally monitoring the situation and all assistance was being provided to those injured.
“We are making alternative arrangements for passengers to continue with their onward journey,” he said in a series of tweets. The railway minister said all assistance is being provided to those injured and ex-gratia will be paid to them.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced financial assistance of Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured in the mishap and Rs 25,000 to those who suffered minor wounds.
Wishing a speedy recovery to the passengers, he directed officials to take adequate measures for their treatment and said there should be no laxity in this regard, an official release said.
In the wake of the incident, Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Shivkant Ojha ordered cancellation of leave of all doctors in government-run hospitals in Kanpur division.
“All the passengers of the train have been rescued and those who were not injured in the mishap have been sent to Kanpur railway station by buses,” SP Kanpur (Rural) Prabhakar Chowdhury said.
14 ambulances of the Health Department ferried the injured to hospitals.
Malviya said relief trains from Kanpur and Tundla stations reached the site soon after the incident. Senior railways officers too rushed to the spot.
However, the passengers complained of delayed response from authorities.
The victims claimed that for more than an hour after the early morning mishap, there was no sign of help from railway authorities, with passengers left to their own means.
“After waiting fruitlessly for rail officials, we ourselves tried to get fellow injured passengers off the train. After getting out though, it was another long wait for the ambulances which arrived only at 7am,” said Arindam Mondal.
Rupali, who escaped without injuries though her father 54-year-old government employee Raj Kishan Ojha suffered a serious head wound, said they had to wait for long before any help arrived.
“We got out of the coach with the help of other passengers, but there was no sign of police or ambulance services for over an hour after that,” she said.
The Railways have issued helpline numbers for Kanpur — 0512-2323015, 2323016, 2323018 and for Allahabad — 0532-2408149, 2408128.
Mugalsarai (P&T) 05412-251258, 254145, Mugalsarai (RLY) 025-73677, Gaya (P&T) 0631-2221249, 025-74523 (RLY).
Dhanbad (P&T) 0326-2209880, 025-42685 (RLY), 06224-273293 (Commercial control), Kishangarh 01463-245734, Jaipur 0141-2201043, Ajmer 0145-2429642, 0145-2421187 and 44246 (Railways).
WATCH: Train derails in Kanpur