Train derails in western India, killing at least 23

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

BOMBAY, India -- A passenger train hit boulders spilled on the track by a landslide in western India, causing four cars to derail and killing at least 23 people, officials said Monday.

Rescuers were searching for more victims in one of the cars, police chief Narendra Waghmale said. At least 25 people were injured, 15 seriously, in the accident Sunday night near Vaibhyavadi, a village 300 miles south of Bombay.

"The toll could go up because rescuers say they can see bodies inside the last coach that is yet to be completely cut open," railroad spokesman Nandu Telang said.

The cars derailed after the train hit a boulder from a landslide caused by heavy monsoon rains, said Bandaru Dattatreya, the junior federal minister for railroads.

"The impact dislodged the coaches," Telang said.

The train was on its way to Bombay from the town of Karavar, in western Maharashtra state.

Telang said rescue work was being slowed by rains and poor transportation links to the accident scene.

Train derailments are common in India, which has one of the largest railroad networks in the world, carrying more than 14 million passengers and 1.10 tons of cargo each day.

Derailments are often caused by poor track maintenance. There have also been instances of sabotage by insurgent groups.

Earlier this month, three passengers were killed and 25 others were injured in two separate incidents, when the trains jumped the rails.

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