Veligonda Train Disaster

Army divers searched yesterday for survivors and the dead in the submerged carriages of a train that derailed and plunged into a rain-swollen river in southern India, killing at least 110 people.

The accident occurred before sunrise on Saturday in the town of Veligonda in Andhra Pradesh state, after flash floods washed away a portion of the track. Ten more bodies were found downstream overnight, raising the death toll to 110, said state home minister K Jana Reddy.

"We were fast asleep when there was a big bang and a thud. The next thing the train was under water," said P Ramesh, who lost seven family members in the wreck, including his wife and brother. "It was pitch dark and people were screaming," he said as he waited for soldiers to cut his relatives' bodies free. "I was able to clamber out of the coach, but others were not so lucky. They are still inside."

One hundred people have been killed after a passenger train derailed in floods in southern India, railway officials say.

Rescue workers have been searching for people trapped in carriages amid fears the death toll could rise further.

Initial reports suggest an irrigation tank burst, causing a bridge to collapse, derailing seven carriages.

The crash occurred early on Saturday south of Hyderabad, the state capital of Andhra Pradesh.

Heavy rains have killed more than 100 people in south India this week.

The Veligonda rail disaster occurred on 29 October 2005 near the town of Veligonda, south of Hyderabad in the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh. A flash flood swept away a small rail bridge, and a "Delta Express" train travelling on it derailed at the broken section of the line, killing at least 114 people and injuring over 200.

The train was traveling south at night, packed with hundreds of sleeping holiday makers visiting relatives for Divali, when a huge irrigation tank situated up stream from the rail lines ruptured, sending thousands of gallons of water down the channel, destroying the bridge in the darkness. When the passenger train hit the broken section a short time later, nobody had reported the damage, and the engine and seven coaches of the train disappeared into the gap created by the broken line. Four coaches crashed into a field close to where the track had been, whilst three more fell into the channel and were swept farther afield into deeper water, where most of the fatalities occurred.

In the day following the accident, the Indian Navy supplied divers, who dived into the flood waters with blow-torches to try to rescue people who may have been trapped in air pockets in the sunken carriages. Reportedly, several people were rescued this way. The army and air force also provided assistance with rescue, medical and heavy lift helicopters, by collecting bodies and maintaining security at the site.