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Last Updated: Monday, 31 October 2005, 08:41 GMT
Indian crash rescue is called off
Train derails in flood waters

Indian army divers have stopped searching for survivors in the submerged carriages of a train which derailed in floods killing 114 people.

Railway officials said the focus would now be placed on repairing the damaged track, located south of Hyderabad, in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Light boats and rafts were used to reach survivors, some of whom were hanging onto luggage racks.

The region suffered heavy rains this week which killed another 100 people.

J P Batra, chairman of the railway board, said all survivors and dead bodies had been pulled out of the seven of the 14 coaches that derailed.

The search for bodies washed down stream was continuing. On Sunday, rescue teams found eight bodies, some of them in nearby bushes.

So far, 90 bodies have been identified and handed over to their families.

Holidaymakers

The Delta Express crashed near the town of Veligonda in Nalgonda district, about 30km (18 miles) south of Hyderabad, after flash floods washed away a portion of the track.

We were fast asleep, when there was a big bang and a thud. The next thing the train was under water
P Ramesh, survivor

Soldiers were lowered from helicopters and used blow torches to cut through the wreckage to free trapped people.

The authorities say there were more than 1,000 people on the train - many holidaymakers travelling to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights, which takes place on Tuesday.

P Ramesh, a passenger who lost seven members of his family, including his wife and brother, told the Associated Press news agency:

"We were fast asleep when there was a big bang and a thud. The next thing the train was under water.

"It was pitch dark and people were screaming."

Heavy rains

Rains have lashed southern India for more than a week, claiming more than 100 lives in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

India's state-run railway system carries more than 13m passengers a day.

It has one of the world's largest rail networks, but also a poor safety record.

About 300 rail accidents are reported every year, resulting in a high number of casualties.

Earlier this month, at least 16 people died and dozens were injured in a train crash in Madhya Pradesh state.




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SEE ALSO:
India train crash deaths reach 55
04 Feb 05 |  South Asia
India's antiquated railways
29 Oct 05 |  South Asia


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