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Konkan train derails, 19 die

Mumbai, May 4: At least 19 persons were killed when a train derailed over 130km from Mumbai today, with initial accounts blaming the accident on speeding near a sharp bend on the tunnel-lined Konkan Railway route.

The engine and four coaches of the passenger train went off the tracks and mounted each other, trapping those in the first two compartments, officials said. Over 150 passengers were injured.

The casualty count went up by the hour as rail rescue teams could not reach the remote spot near Nagothane in Maharashtra’s Raigad district for more than an hour after the 9.40am accident, passengers said.

Immediate help came from villagers, who rushed to the spot in scores and helped shift the injured to nearby hospitals. Some of the seriously wounded were sent to hospitals in Mumbai.

“Nineteen persons are dead and 152 injured,” a senior Konkan Railway official said late this evening.

Some of the passengers said the train had been running unusually fast in the tunnel and near the sharp curve immediately after it when the derailment occurred. Speed limits are specified on such stretches.

The train was travelling from Diva on Mumbai’s outskirts to Sawantwadi, a coastal town near the border with Goa.

Railway board chairperson Arunendra Kumar said a probe had been ordered. Railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the families of the dead.

The derailment crippled services, leaving thousands stuck in the summer rush on the route where most are headed to Goa and Kerala.