Passengers killed on railway tracks in India trying to flee ‘fire’ on train

At least two people were crushed to death and several others injured on the tracks when an incoming train ran them over in India’s Jharkhand state, according to officials.

Earlier it was reported that those dead were passengers trying to flee their own train that was on fire from the wrong side when the incoming local train crushed them. However, officials in India denied the reports of fire.

A large-scale rescue operation, with medical teams, ambulances and transport police was launched after the accident in Jharkhand state in eastern India.

Several people are feared dead, although the exact number has not been confirmed.

Earlier, NDTV reportred that the passengers had been trying to escape after reports of a fire on board an express train at the Kalajharia railway station in Jharkhand’s Jamtara district.

People travelling on the Anga Express from Bhagalpur to Bengaluru got off the train as rumours of a fire on board spread panic, the channel reported.

“As they tried to run across the tracks to escape the alleged fire, another train running on the route ran them over,” NDTV said.

However, the Eastern Railway said the victims were not passengers but had been walking on the tracks when they were hit by a train. The company also denied reports of a fire.

“Two persons walking on the track were run over by the train at least two km away from train number 12254 passing from Vidyasagar Kasitar. There is no incident of fire,” an official said, NDTV reported.

“As of now, two deaths have been confirmed. The deceased are not passengers, they were walking on the track. A three-member committee has been formed to enquire about the issue,” Kaushik Mitra, of Eastern Railways, said.

But Jamtara police officer M Rahman told PTI the accident happened when some of the passengers got down from a train on the wrong side.

Mr Rahman said a search operation was underway and the death toll might increase, according to the Indian Express. Irfan Ansari, a local politician, said he would go the the scene of the accident.

“I have given the directions to identify those responsible for it. We will also raise the issue in the assembly... The deceased have not been identified yet...” the member of the legislative assembly said.

The search for survivors was hampered by a lack of lights in the area, The Times of India reported.

President of India, Droupadi Murmu, offered her condolences to the bereaved families. “I express my deepest condolences to the bereaved families and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured.”