India train derailment kills at least two

Rescue workers search for survivors at the site of a train derailment in Pukhrayan, south of Kanpur city, India November 20, 2016.
PHOTO: Reuters

New Delhi - At least two people died and 28 were injured Wednesday after a train derailed in north India, close to the site of a previous rail accident that killed 146.

The incident happened in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh state, when more than a dozen coaches of an express train derailed.

Local government officials at the accident site said some coaches had crashed into each other and turned sideways after coming off the tracks.

"We can confirm two deaths and injuries to at least 28 persons, who are admitted at different hospitals around Kanpur," Zaki Ahmad inspector general of Kanpur police told AFP.

"The incident happened around 5:30am. There were passengers, other than the 28, who'd received minor injuries and left after receiving first aid," he added.

India's railways minister Suresh Prabhu said senior department officials had already rushed to the accident spot.

"Immediate medical help being provided to the injured. Mobilized resources, directed all concerned to ensure rescue and relief," Prabhu said on Twitter. "Thorough investigation will be carried out to ascertain the cause," he added.

India's railway network, one of the world's largest, is still the main form of long-distance travel in the vast country, but it is poorly funded and deadly accidents occur relatively frequently.

At least 146 people were killed last month in Kanpur, the same district as Wednesday's derailment, when a train derailed in one of India's worst rail disasters in recent years.

A 2012 government report said almost 15,000 people were killed every year on India's railways and described the loss of life as an annual "massacre".

The government has signed numerous deals with private companies to upgrade the ageing rail network.