“While 32 people, including 10 women and five children, were killed, nearly 300 passengers have been rescued, mostly by local residents. Those injured have been rushed to government hospitals where the condition of some are said to be serious,” he said.
Indian Railways Chairman A.K. Mittal said a flash flood seemed to be the reason behind the twin mishaps. “The flash flood caved the tracks as the soil shifted, weakening the small bridge, which collapsed. Even 10 minutes before the accidents, the tracks were intact,” he told the media.
Local TV channels showed footage of rescuers trying to find any survivors and reported that local residents played a big role in rescue efforts in the middle of the night.
The Indian Railways has also announced a compensation of two lakh rupees (4,000 US dollars) for the families of each killed and 50,000 Indian rupees (1,000 US dollars) to those who sustained serious injuries.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed condolences to the families of the victims. “The two train accidents in Madhya Pradesh are deeply distressing. Deeply pained over the loss of lives,” he tweeted.
Indian Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has said that a probe has been ordered into the incidents. “Enquiry ordered, Ex gratia to be paid immediately. Flooding of tracks due to very heavy downpour,” he tweeted.
The state-owned Indian Railways operates 12,000 passenger trains and carries 23 million passengers daily. But its safety record is questionable, claiming over 27,000 lives in 2014.
In March last year, a passenger train derailed in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, killing at least 34 people. And nearly 11 people died after three coaches of the Bangalore-Ernakulam Intercity Express derailed in the southern state of Karnataka in February last year.