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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 July, 2003, 07:12 GMT 08:12 UK
More dead in India train crash
The death toll in the Indian train crash has risen to 22 as rescue workers found more bodies trapped in the wreckage.

The express train crashed from a bridge in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday.

Golconda Express in Warangal
The brakes may have failed
At least 10 of the dead were passengers on the train while the rest were bystanders on the road beneath the rail bridge.

Six railway officials have been suspended and an investigation has been ordered.

The accident took place close to the Warangal railway station, some 170 kilometres north of the state capital, Hyderabad.

Rail officials say preliminary reports suggest the train's brakes may have failed, because it did not make its scheduled halt at the station.

Two coaches and the engine of the Golconda express fell onto the road below in Warangal, in Andhra Pradesh state.

'Hanging precariously'

An assistant engine driver said he realised something had gone wrong as the train approached the station.

"I tried to contact the station master over the walkie-talkie but failed to get any response. By that time all the controls had gone down to zero," the driver, Sammaiah, told the Associated Press.

INDIAN TRAIN DISASTERS
June 2003 Train derails in monsoon rains near the western town of Rajapur, killing more than 20 people
May 2003 At least 38 people die in a fire on Bombay to Amritsar express
Jan 2003: 18 are killed as two trains collide in Maharashtra
Dec 2002: Train derails south of Hyderabad, killing 20
Sept 2002: 118 die in Bihar when the Rajdhani Express goes off the tracks
Jun 2001: A train derails and plunges into a river in Kerala, killing 64
Aug 1999: 285 die when two trains collide north of Calcutta
Nov 1998: 211 die as the Frontier Mail and the Sealdah Express collide in the Punjab

Officials say at least six of the dead were in a fish market situated under the bridge.

Reports say many of the carriages were hanging precariously from the bridge and it is believed the engine may have hit several three-wheel taxis parked nearby, killing the occupants.

Rescue and relief efforts are under way.

The exact death toll has been difficult to establish because of additional confusion caused by an unrelated protest taking place nearby.

"It is total chaos and we are trying to restore traffic to allow relief and rescue personnel to reach the overbridge," said Warangal police chief, Nalin Prabhat.

Casualty fears

Officials in the railway control room have also expressed frustration as the rescue operation is hampered by the large number of people.

"We are fearing higher casualties," said control room chief T Kumar.

Last month, more than 50 people died after a passenger train derailed in western India.

Twenty-five people were injured in the crash, when four carriages of the train were forced off the rails after it hit rocks and debris from a landslide caused by heavy monsoon rains.

In May, 38 people were killed when a train caught fire in the northern city of Ludhiana.

Doubts have been expressed about the stability of 60% of local railway bridges, many of which were built under British rule.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Omer Farooq
"The reason for the accident was the faliure of the brakes of the engine"



SEE ALSO:
Dozens die in Indian train blaze
15 May 03  |  South Asia
India train crash toll rises
23 Jun 03  |  South Asia
'Error' blamed for India train deaths
03 Jan 03  |  South Asia
India's antiquated railways
02 Dec 00  |  South Asia


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