Bengaluru, Feb 13 (IANS): Nine passengers were killed and 18 others severely injured when nine coaches of the Bengaluru-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derailed in Karnataka early Friday, an official said.
The victims included five men, three women and a nine-year-old boy.
As it was a day train with chair cars, the zonal railway did not have the full list of passengers travelling in the express, especially in the two compartments that were unreserved and bore the brunt.
The incident occurred at 7.35 a.m. after the train left Anekal station towards Hosur near the border with Tamil Nadu.
“The derailment led to two coaches (eighth and ninth) telescoping into each other, resulting in nine fatalities and severe injuries to 18 co-passengers during the journey,” a railway official told IANS here.
Bodies of all the victims were extricated from the twin coaches and the injured brought to hospitals at Anekal and Bengaluru for treatment.
“A National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) team conducted the rescue and relief operations at the accident site, while the stranded passengers were shifted to Anekal, Hosur and Bengaluru in state-run transport buses for their onward journey,” the official said.
The express train departed from the main city station here at 6.15 a.m. and covered 45 km when the disaster struck between Anekal road and Hosur town on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border.
Even 12 hours after the incident, railway officials could not ascertain the cause of derailment though an expert team rushed to the spot where the engine and the first nine coaches went off the single track and derailed.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who flew to Bengaluru late afternoon, visited the accident spot with Railway Board Chairman A.K. Mital and senior officials of South Western Railways and inspected the derailed train.
Prabhu also visited the injured in the hospitals at Anekal and Bengaluru and announced Rs.200,000 compensation to the families of the dead and Rs.50,000 to each of the grievously injured.
The minister ordered an inquiry to ascertain the cause of the accident.
Anish, a passenger on the train, told the media in Kochi over telephone that the rescue team had cut open the two second class coaches to shift the injured to hospitals.
Another passenger, Cyriac Mathew, said he had seen three bodies.
“The worst affected was coach D-8. I could see the bodies of two men and a woman in the coach,” said Mathew, a regular traveller on the train.
“Police and the ambulance arrived an hour after the accident,” he said.
The SWR has set up help desks at the Bengaluru station and the accident site to assist the injured and the stranded passengers.