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Indian train derails, killing 77

At least 77 people have been killed when a passenger train derailed in southern India after flood waters washed away a part of the track.

Rescue workers are still searching for people trapped in some carriages which fell into flood waters caused by heavy rains in the area in recent days.

The accident happened early in the morning in the state of Andhra Pradesh, south of the state capital Hyderabad.

Heavy rains have claimed more than 100 lives in southern India this week.


The Delta Express derailed near the town of Veligonda in Nalgonda district, about 30km (18 miles) south of Hyderabad, early on Saturday.

After surveying the site of the train crash, India's junior railway minister, R Velu, told a news conference in Hyderabad that "little could have been done to avoid the accident".

Army and air force personnel are helping with the rescue operation, with soldiers using gas cutters to try an open up the carriages, reports say.

Helicopters are being used to carry the wounded to nearby hospitals.

The BBC's Omer Farooq who is at the crash site says many of the victims were holidaymakers travelling to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights, which takes place on Tuesday.

Srinivas Rao and his cousin Gangadhar were travelling on the train with their parents and managed to escape.

"But we don't know what's happened to our parents," they told the BBC.

"We were fast asleep, when there was a big bang and a thud. The next thing the train was under water," P Ramesh, a passenger, who lost seven members of his family, including his wife and brother, is quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

"It was pitch dark and people were screaming."

Heavy rains

Rains have lashed southern India for more than a week, claiming more than 100 lives in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

India's state-run railways system carries more than 13 million passengers a day.

It has one of the world's largest rail networks, but also has a poor safety record.

About 300 rail accidents are reported every year, resulting in a high number of casualties.

Earlier this month, at least 16 people died and dozens were injured in a train crash in Madhya Pradesh state.
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