The death toll from a train crash in northern India has risen to 23 after more bodies were recovered from inside mangled passenger carriages.
The passenger express was travelling to Gorakhpur city in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Monday morning when it ploughed into a stationary freight train at a local station.
“At least 23 people are confirmed dead and 44 are injured. The toll is expected to rise,” Indian Railways spokesman Anil Kumar Saxena said on Tuesday.
Emergency and medical teams worked into the night on Monday to prise open the carriages to reach the dead and injured, but were hampered by a lack of specialist equipment, an official said.
“The railways were slow in responding to rescue efforts. They did not even have proper tools needed for the rescue operation,” said local administrator Arvind Diwedi from Sant Kabir Nagar, the nearest town to the accident site.
“No more passengers are trapped inside. The injured were taken to hospitals in Gorakhpur and Khalilabad districts,” Diwedi said.
Six carriages were derailed in the crash. They piled on top of one another or toppled on to their sides in fields, with police and rescue workers trying to find ways inside.
The Gorakhdham Express travelling from Hisar city smashed into the freight train at Chureb station in Khalilabad, 700 kilometres east of New Delhi.
Indian Railways has announced an investigation into the cause of the crash and additional compensation for the victims.