Death toll in India train derailment rises to 39

2017-01-22 15:39:54 GMT2017-01-22 23:39:54(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

Photo taken on Jan. 22, 2017 shows the site of the derail accident happened in Vizianagaram district, southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The death toll in the derailment of a passenger train in India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh rose to 39, railway officials said Sunday. (Xinhua/Stringer)

NEW DELHI, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in the derailment of a passenger train in India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh rose to 39, railway officials said Sunday.

At least 50 have been injured in the accident that took place Saturday night in Vizianagaram district, about 436 kilometers northeast of Amaravati, the main city of Andhra Pradesh.

"As of now, a total of 39 passengers were killed in last night's train accident in Andhra Pradesh," J P Mishra, a spokesman for East Coast Railways told Xinhua.

Another 50 passengers were injured in this accident, among whom seven were said to be critical, he said.

However, India's official broadcaster - All India Radio - put the number of injured at more than 115.

The train derailed as it was traveling from Jagdalpur city of Chhattisgarh to Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha state.

Following the accident, rescuers carried out intensive search, cutting into the metal of mangled coaches to search for survivors and bodies.

"National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have already reached the spot to carry out rescue and relief operations," a government spokesman said.

"Due care and diligence is being taken into consideration by NDRF teams as the victims might be trapped under the mangled bogies, the operation is still in progress."

Railway authorities cancelled and ordered diversions of several trains in wake of the accident.

According to officials, traffic on the affected route was likely to resume on Monday.

Indian railways has ordered an inquiry into the accident and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu visited the site to review the situation.

"Visited the accident site and took stock of the situation," Prabhu wrote on twitter. "Reviewed rescue and relief operations, directed all concerned to ensure speedy relief."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the loss of lives in the accident.

"My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones due to the derailment of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar express. The tragedy is saddening," Modi said. "I pray for a speedy recovery of all those injured due to the train accident."

Train accidents are common in India. Experts blame the outdated infrastructure for most of the accidents.

The Railway Ministry has announced compensation of 2,937 U.S. dollars to the kins of each deceased in the accident and 734 dollars to the injured.

Besides, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu has announced additional 7,343 dollars for families of his state who lost their lives in the accident.

Last year, the Indian government announced an investment of over 137 billion dollars over the next five years to boost railways and modernize them.

India's sprawling railways are the world's third largest network, ferrying around 23 million people each day.