Tragedy struck early this morning in India as a passenger train jumped the rails. At least 115 are known dead, and 150 other people were injured. The death toll is expected to rise because authorities still have not been able to reach all of the mangled cars yet. Not only were many cars overturned and laying on their sides, but the force of the crash was such that it actually pushed at least one train car all of the way under another.
Rescuers forced to tread with caution
The fact that the accident occurred approximately 3:10 a.m., meant that most of the passengers were asleep and defenseless, unable to even brace themselves for the horrific impact. Some of the survivors compared the loud noise and feel of the crash to an earthquake. The derailment involved 14 passenger cars and, as of yet, the cause of the disaster is still unknown and under investigation.
What concerns emergency responders the most though is trying to rescue surviving passengers quickly, but safely. The difficulty was compounded by having to try to save as many as possible even though the early morning hours were so dark that they had to carry torches as they searched car by car. In addition, some of the cars were so precariously perched that they didn’t want to enter haphazardly and cause the cars to fall all the way over. They started Sunday morning and continued the search well into the night.
Such crashes are sadly all too common in India
While train crashes happen all over the world, India is known for having had numerous crashes that many feel could have been avoidable. The blame seems to fall on the fact that the country relies on outdated equipment and communication systems. One of the worst incidents to date saw the loss of 800 lives when a train plunged off of the tracks into the Baghmati River.
Almost 15,000 people are killed in train wrecks per year in India, according to a 2012 report released by their government. After so much death and destruction the country’s leaders seem to finally be willing to do something about these dangerous commuter trains. Over the next five years, improvements in every area of the train industry should become apparent thanks in large part to the notice Indian Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi has taken in this issue. He has pledged $137 billion to address such problems as antiquated equipment and overworked staff stretched beyond capacity. #Train Wreck