INTRODUCTION: Twenty people died in southern India on Wednesday (11 February), and fifty were injured, when three trains were involved in a freak crash.
GV PAN Wreckage.
SV PAN FROM Rescue workers TO carriages.
LV Wrecked coaches. (2 SHOTS)
SV PAN Rescue workers.
TV PAN Rescuers around carriages.
SV PAN Bodies on stretcher and on ground.
SV & CU INT Nurses and doctors attending wounded. (2 SHOTS)
CU PAN Bodies. (2 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Twenty people died in southern India on Wednesday (11 February), and fifty were injured, when three trains were involved in a freak crash. The accident happened 150 kilometres (100 miles) from Madras when a mail train ran into the back of a freight train -- and then an express crashed into the derailed mail coaches.
SYNOPSIS: According to railway officials in the state of Tamil Nadu, the freight locomotive was on its way to Madras, pulling 36 empty oil tankers at the time of the crash. As it passed through Vaniambadi a mail train -- also heading for Madras -- was given clearance and rammed the oil tankers.
The express train, travelling in the opposite direction, collided with coaches which had toppled from the adjacent track into its path. Two express coaches were derailed, including one which fell into a ditch. Rescue efforts were hampered by the tangled wreckage.
Five passengers were burned to death when rescuers using a naked gas flame ignited diesel fuel leaking from an engine. Among the victims of the crash were four railway employees - two of them an engine driver and his assistant. The manager of a local soccer team was killed, and two of his players were injured. Two leading state politicians travelling on the express managed to escape unhurt.
An investigation started immediately into the cause of the crash, and in particular the reason why the mail train had not been stopped at a signal. Survivors of the tragedy, who were taken to three hospitals, spoke of a 'nightmare' of screaming and flames.
Passengers on board the mail train said they had no time to recover from the first crash before the second occurred. A number of those taken to hospitals were seriously hurt and not expected to live. India's Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, spoke of her 'anguish and distress' at the tragedy.