The death toll in the Indian train derailment has risen to 145

Updated: 
INDIA-TRAIN/


The death toll from India's worst train accident in years rose to 145 on Monday, as rescuers used cranes to lift the metal wreckage to check for more bodies underneath.

The passenger train was midway through a 27-hour journey between the cities of Indore and Patna when it slid off the tracks at 3.10am local time on Sunday.

The impact was so strong that one of the coaches landed on top of another, crushing the one below. Passengers were jolted awake and said they heard the crash as they were flung from their beds.

Indian train crash
(Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP)

"There was a loud sound like an earthquake. I fell from my berth and a lot of luggage fell over me," Ramchandra Tewari, who suffered a head injury, said from his hospital bed in the industrial city of Kanpur. "I thought I was dead, and then I passed out."

Rescue workers, soldiers and members of India's disaster management force worked through the night to pull out people trapped amid the wreckage near Pukhrayan, a village outside Kanpur, about 400km south-east of New Delhi.

Indian train crash
(Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP)

By Monday morning, they had searched the last of the 14 wrecked cars, but had yet to lift the coach from the tracks to see if more bodies had been trapped beneath.

The accident killed at least 145 people, of whom 116 had been identified, according to Dr Aneeta Singh, the chief medical officer of Kanpur Dehat district, where Pukhrayan village is located.

Indian train
(Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP)

An estimated 226 people were hurt, including 76 with serious injuries, according to local police Inspector General Zaki Ahmad. Medical teams provided first aid near the site, while those in a more serious condition were moved to hospitals in Kanpur.

Rail authorities ordered an investigation into what caused the derailment. Some told local media they suspected faulty tracks.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged last year to invest 137 billion US dollars (£111 billion) over the next five years to modernise India's railway network, which is used by about 23 million passengers a day.