25 people were killed and over 40 injured when the driver of the Bangalore-bound Hampi Express apparently overshot the signal and rammed into the rear of a stationary goods train in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh in the wee hours on Tuesday.
Of them, 11 were charred to death in the first coach, which caught fire, while the rest were trapped to death in the third coach of the express train coming from Hubli in Karnataka which derailed at around 3:15am at Penukonda railway station in Bangalore division of South Central Railway.
The first three coaches of the express train had derailed due to the impact of the collision. Three women and two children were among the killed and whose bodies have been recovered, Harinath Reddy, Deputy Superintendent of Government Railway Police, Guntakal, said.
Most of the victims were labourers coming from Hubli and Hospet in Karnataka and were on their way to Bangalore.
“Prima facie it seems that the driver of Hampi Express overshot the signal,” railway spokesperson Anil Saxena said in Delhi.
Police have registered a case and both the driver and his assistant of the express train were injured and in hospital and not in a position to speak right now, Reddy said.
Railway and local police along with fire fighting men soon brought the flames under control. Rescue as well as relief operations are on, officials said.
The injured have been shifted to Penukonda, Hindupur and Anantapur hospitals.
Railway minister Mukul Roy, who was in Kolkata, has rushed to the site of the accident and ordered an inquiry into it.
Helpline numbers | Bangalore: 080-22321166, Bellary: 08392-277704, Hospet 08394-221788, Hubli 0836-2345338