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Last Updated: Monday, 23 June, 2003, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
India train crash toll rises
Rescue workers free survivors from derailed carriages
The isolated location and monsoon rains have hindered the rescue
The number of people killed after a passenger train derailed in western India on Sunday night has now risen to 23, officials say.

Twelve more passengers were seriously injured when four carriages of the train were forced off the rails after it hit a boulder from a landslide caused by heavy monsoon rains.

The rescue effort has been hampered by continuing rains and the isolated location of the derailment, 400 kilometres (250 miles) south of India's commercial capital, Bombay (Mumbai).

Railway spokesman Nandu Telang said the dead and injured were being moved to local hospitals.

He said three of the derailed carriages had unreserved seats so rescue workers were having difficulty identifying the victims.

The derailment appears to have been caused by a landslide following several days of heavy rain in the region.

"It appears that the landslide and approaching train were concurrent, or the train must have hit the boulders just five or 10 minutes after the landslide," said Mr Telang.

He also said the driver had been told it was safe to proceed.

The train was travelling from the neighbouring state of Karnataka to Bombay when it derailed near the town of Rajapur at around 2230 local time (1700 GMT) on Sunday.

Trains due to travel the route were cancelled as rescue teams and a relief train worked on freeing passengers from the overturned carriages.

Mr Telang said it would take 24 hours to get the route functioning again.




SEE ALSO:
Monsoons ease India heat
09 Jun 03  |  South Asia
Dozens die in Indian train blaze
15 May 03  |  South Asia
'Error' blamed for India train deaths
03 Jan 03  |  South Asia


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