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India derailment death toll continues to rise

Rescuers are starting to wrap up their work searching for survivors after a train derailed in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is unclear what caused the accident, which killed at least 142 people.

Indian police said on Monday that the death toll after a passenger train derailment in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh had risen to at least 142.

The police officer in charge of the region, Zaki Ahmed, said 115 bodies had so far been identified

The crash, involving at least 14 cars of the Patna-Indore Express train, derailed at around 3 a.m local time (0200 UTC) on Sunday outside the city of Kanpur, located some 400 kilometers (250 miles) southeast of New Delhi. Medical teams were dispatched to provide first aid near the site, while more seriously injured victims were transported to hospital in Kanpur, a police official said.

Rescue workers and police pulled trapped passengers from the cars, some of which were dangerously tilted. More than 200 people were injured in the accident.

 

Rail passenger Satish Kumar told the Associated Press that the train was traveling at a seemingly normal speed when it stopped suddenly. "It restarted, and then we heard a crash," said Kumar, whose coach remained standing on the track. "When we came out of the train, we saw a few coaches had derailed." Some of the rail cars crumpled when they crashed into others, trapping hundreds of people inside.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to give his condolences.

India's Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu arrived at the scene to monitor rescue operations. He said the government would investigate the cause of the crash and compensate victims.

Kanpur is a major railway junction where hundreds of trains pass through everyday. Trains using the line were diverted to other routes, said Anil Saxena, a spokesman for Indian Railways. India's railway network, one of the world's largest, is still the main form of long-distance travel in the vast country, but it is poorly funded and deadly accidents occur relatively frequently.

cw/kbd,jar/kl (AP, AFP, dpa)