Train tragedy in MP: Sudden flash flood may have caused accident

By Mukesh Pandey, Yogendra Pratap Singh and Sunil Karhalkar, Hindustan Times, Bhopal/Harda

At least 31 people died and 25 were injured when two trains derailed within minutes of each other while crossing a small bridge in Madhya Pradesh shortly before midnight on Tuesday.

The Kamayani Express, headed for Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh from Mumbai, derailed near Harda town, 160 km south of Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal, shortly before midnight.

The Janata Express, en route to Mumbai from Patna, too derailed at the same spot minutes later.

Officials engaged in the rescue operations said they feared the death toll could rise. Survivors said some persons could have been washed away by the swollen waters of the Machak river.

The accident occurred at Kudwa, about 18 km from the district headquarters Harda, located between Bhirangi and Khirakia railway stations.

Harda district public relations officer Vitthal Maheshwari said 31 people were killed, including 10 women and five children.

The chairman of the Railway Board, AK Mittal, said on Wednesday that the derailment of the two trains near Harda in Madhya Pradesh may have been caused by a sudden flash flood.

Mittal said that ten minutes before the unfortunate tragedy, spot train movement was absolutely normal, and there was no inkling about the accident taking place.

An inquiry was ordered into the incident and the commissioner of railway safety (central zone) will conduct the probe. More info

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