Two Indian trains derail killing at least 24

  • 05/08/2015
(Photo: iStock)
(Photo: iStock)

At least 24 people died when two passenger trains derailed separately in central India after heavy monsoon rains submerged railway tracks.

Ten coaches from the trains toppled into the swollen Mochak river while crossing a small bridge in Madhya Pradesh state just before midnight on Wednesday (local time).

The accidents - involving one train en route from Mumbai to the temple city of Varanasi, and another headed in the opposite direction - occurred within minutes of each other.

"Twenty four people have lost their lives in the accident," state railways spokesman KK Dubey said. "Forty more injured passengers have been taken to nearby hospitals.

"Preliminary investigations suggest that the derailment occurred because the tracks collapsed after heavy rains. The soil and base material underneath the tracks was washed away in the downpour."

As many as 300 people have been rescued at the accident site, about 160km south of the state capital Bhopal, broadcaster NDTV reported.

Dubey says most of the passengers have been rescued.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "My prayers are with the injured. Authorities are doing everything possible on the ground."

India's railways carry an estimated 20 million passengers daily.