The toll from the Patna-Indore Express derailment rose to 145 on Monday, and the number of injured climbed to more than 200, The Hindu reported on Monday. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu promised the “strictest possible action” against those found responsible for the incident. The train got derailed at around 3 am near Uttar Pradesh’s Pukhrayan in the Kanpur Dehat district.
All 14 coaches of the train have been removed from the tracks. Rescue officials said they had managed to identify 110 bodies, of which 45 were reported to be from Uttar Pradesh, 20 from Madhya Pradesh, 14 from Bihar and one from Maharashtra. Inspector General (Kanpur range) Zaki Ahmad said, “142 bodies have been found so far, out of which 110 have been identified.”
A spokesperson for the National Disaster Response Force said most of the bodies were “beyond recognition” as they had been badly crushed by the wreckage, IANS reported. Officials said the toll could rise further because some of the injured were in critical condition.
While the cause of the incident is yet to be determined by investigators, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said it could have been caused because of a fracture in the rail tracks. Divisional Railway Manager for the Jhansi Division SK Agarwal called the derailment a “major accident”, but indicated that there was no tampering. “The Sabarmati Express crossed the same track nine minutes earlier,” he said. “It would have reported any fault.”
Following the incident, Prabhu announced ex-gratia of Rs 3.5 lakh for families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 compensation for the critically injured. He further said that both the central and Uttar Pradesh governments were working together on rescue and relief operations. A help desk was set up at Patna Junction to provide information to the relatives of those travelling on the train. Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences to the families of the deceased.