Rescue teams were delayed because of heavy rain and damaged roads due to flooding. (Photo: Agence France-Presse)
More than 25 people are still missing as rescue operations continue after two passenger trains derailed near Harda, Madhya Pradesh, killing 28 and injuring over 40
About 300 people have been rescued since the accident took place at around 11:30 pm on Tuesday night. The passenger trains had derailed within minutes of each other while crossing flooded tracks.
Six coaches of the Kamayani Express running from Mumbai to Varanasi derailed while crossing a culvert near the Machak river close to Harda, about 160 kilometres from state capital Bhopal.
Minutes later, an engine and four coaches of the Janata Express, going to Mumbai from Jabalpur, derailed. Among those who have died are 10 women and five children, the Madhya Pradesh government said.
Many people have not been able to contact their relatives who were travelling by the trains yet. Vishwaram Yadav says he has had no word from his 63-year-old uncle Mangru Prasad Yadav.
"He was travelling on the Janata Express and I don't know if he is injured or if he is okay. There has been no information from the Railways as well," he said.
"I want to go there and find him. I'll take a 4 pm train to Harda," Mr Yadav said.
Another passenger's relative Gyani Saket said, "My cousin Sriram Saket was travelling on the Kamayani Express. I haven't heard anything from him or the authorities yet."
Many survivors of the accident were trapped inside coaches submerged in water for three to four hours
while some died waiting for help to arrive, a passenger told reporters.
Railway Chairman AK Mittal said a flash flood caved the tracks as the soil shifted. The surge of water had weakened the culvert which was safe even 10 minutes before the accident
, he said.
Local residents played a big role in rescue efforts in the middle of the night, as rescue teams were delayed because of heavy rain and damaged roads due to flooding.At least 25 trains from Mumbai have being diverted
as a result of the accident. Trains from Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have also been stopped. Sources say some trains may be diverted to Rajasthan.