Deadly train smash in India

Last updated 20:25 26/05/2014

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An express train has slammed into a parked freight train in northern India, killing at least 20 people, officials said.

The Gorakhpur Express passenger train was traveling at high speed and slammed on its brakes in an attempt to stop, but plowed into the train sitting on the tracks near a railway station in Uttar Pradesh state, district magistrate Bharat Lal said.

Six of the cars on the express train derailed and at least 20 people were killed, he said.

Rescuers worked to free people trapped under toppled cars and debris. At least 50 people were injured, including the express train's driver and assistant driver, who were in critical condition, railway official Alok Kumar said.

"Five bodies have been recovered so far, and efforts are being made to bring out the remaining bodies," Kumar said.

Trains were diverted to other tracks to avoid the wreckage. Authorities were searching for the station master, who disappeared after the accident in Sant Kabir Nagar, about 220 kilometers southeast of the state capital, Lucknow.

Narendra Modi, who was to be sworn in later Monday as India's new prime minister, expressed condolences to the families of the dead in a message on Twitter. "Prayers with the injured," he said.

Accidents are common on India's railroad network, one of the world's largest, with 20 million people riding daily on about 11,000 passenger trains. Most accidents are blamed on poor maintenance and human error.

Earlier this month, a train crashed into a jeep at an unmanned railroad crossing in Uttar Pradesh, killing 13 members of a wedding party. Four days earlier, a passenger train derailed, killing at least 19 people just south of Mumbai. Another train derailment last month left dozens injured in the northeast state of Assam.

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- AP

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