Friday, May 28, 2010

India: At least 65 dead as suspected Maoist rebels derail high-speed train

FOCUS Information Agency - Suspected Maoist rebels derailed a high-speed train packed with sleeping passengers into the path of a freight train in eastern India Friday, killing at least 65 people, officials said.

Police said the death toll was expected to rise with dozens more bodies feared trapped in the mangled wreckage after 13 carriages of the Mumbai-bound express from Kolkata careened off the tracks in a remote area of West Bengal.

Initial reports had suggested the derailment was triggered by an explosion, but police said there was evidence that the fishplates used to secure adjoining sections of track had been removed.
"We found some Maoist leaflets at the site so it appears to be the work of Maoists," West Bengal police chief Bhupinder Singh told AFP.

"It seems there are still a large number of passengers trapped in the carriages -- dead or alive, we are not sure," Singh said.

Another senior police official helping coordinate the rescue operation said emergency teams had recovered 65 bodies.

"And the fear is that there will be many more," police inspector general Surajit Kar Purakayastha told AFP.

More than 120 people were reported injured, some of them in critical condition.

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