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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 December, 2004, 15:48 GMT
Sri Lanka express hits elephants
Dead elephant in front of train
"A very tragic incident, but no one's fault"
An express train has collided with a herd of wild elephants in Sri Lanka.

One elephant was killed and two others badly injured in the accident in Anuradhapura district, about 160km (100 miles) north of the capital Colombo.

The train's engine was derailed in the collision, but none of the 500 passengers was hurt.

A wildlife official said train drivers had been advised to go carefully in the area after a similar accident three weeks ago.

Lal Silva, the district's chief railway official, said: "It was a very tragic incident, but it was no-one's fault."

The Associated Press news agency says Sri Lanka was home to up to 15,000 elephants a century ago, but only 3,000 now remain - mainly because of poaching and loss of habitat.

It adds that every year, about 150 elephants are killed by farmers - shot or electrocuted when the animals go on to their land in search of food.

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