5 dead, 100 injured as train derails in India

July 10, 2011 - 6:14 AM

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — A packed train derailed in northern India on Sunday, killing at least five people and injuring about 100 others, officials said.

The Kalka Mail train was on its way to New Delhi from Howrah, a station near Kolkata, when its 12 coaches and the engine jumped the tracks near the town of Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh state, railway spokesman Sandeep Mathur told The Associated Press.

At least five people were killed and rescue workers pulled out from the wreckage at least 100 injured passengers, said A.K. Jain, a senior railway police official.

The numbers of those injured was likely to rise as rescuers made their way through the coaches and used gas cutters to cut through the mangled metal, Jain said.

Medical aid was rushed to the area, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state.

"Our first priority is to provide first aid to those who have been injured," Jain said.

Television channels showed footage of locals helping injured passengers move away from the train and breaking the glass windows of the coaches to help those trapped inside.

The number of passengers traveling on the train was not immediately known.

The cause of the derailment was not immediately clear but it appeared that the driver may have pulled the emergency brakes, Jain said.

The derailment delayed several other trains, Mathur said.

India's railroad network is one of the largest in the world and carries about 14 million passengers a day. Accidents are common, with most blamed on poor maintenance and human error.