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Train mishap toll rises to 98, may go further up

Saturday, May 29, 2010 12:50:57 PM, PTI

Maoists attack Mumbai bound train, 68 people killed: Sixty-eight passengers of a Mumbai-bound express train were killed  .... Read Full

Naxals may have link with Let: Chhattisgarh CM

Jhargram (WB): The toll in the Mumbai-bound express train derailment by Maoists rose to 98 on Saturday morning as more bodies were pulled out from the wreckage of the mangled coaches with rescuers working throughout the night.

South East Railway officials put the number of injured at 250. Five of the seriously injured have been taken to Kolkata for treatment.

“Ninety-eight bodies have so far been taken out from the mangled coaches. Ninety-six bodies have been kept at the Midnapore Hospital and two at the Kharagpur Railway Hospital,” SP, West Midnapore, Manoj Kumar Verma told PTI.

Only 25 bodies have been identified so far and postmortem of 60 bodies has been done.

Railway officials said the toll could rise as the worst-affected S-5 and S-6 coaches were yet to be cut open.

Bodies could be inside the two mangled coaches as also under the engine of four wagons of the goods train, the officials said.

Maoists derailed the Howrah-Kurla Lomanya Tilak Jnaneswari Super Deluxe Express on Friday when the train was running between Khemasoli and Sardiya stations.

Verma said the bodies are being preserved in such a manner that a DNA test can be conducted on them in case of need.

“Two temporary camps have been set up at the Midnapore Hospital where relatives of the dead and injured can get information. Besides displaying the photographs of the dead at the hospital, officials have uploaded them on government websites for the convenience of the affected families,” Verma said.

The Midnapore Medical College and Hospital, where all the bodies have been kept, is facing a space crunch as its morgue is not equipped to handle such a large number of cadavers.

A garage of the hospital has been turned into a makeshift morgue with the bodies being kept on slabs of ice.

“The summer heat, however, is proving to be a problem,” hospital officials told PTI.

The hospital authorities have placed a large LCD screen where the images of the bodies were being displayed to help relatives identify them.

Among the injured, there were children in the age group of three to four years who were separated from their parents in the accident. A PTI correspondent, who visited the hospital, saw that they all bore “unidentified” tags.

There is confusion on the exact cause of the train derailment in the Maoist stronghold with Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday blaming it on a “bomb blast” at the rail track while top brass of the West Bengal Police said it was an act of sabotage since fish plates were found removed.

DGP Bhupinder Singh said pendral clips which are used to hold sections of tracks together were found missing over a 50-metre stretch at the accident spot. Some passengers also said they heard no blast. “It is a clear case of sabotage. The Maoists have done it,” Singh said.

Union Home Minister P. Chidamabaram had said that the disaster appeared to be an act of sabotage, but it was not yet clear whether explosives were used in the blast.

Ms. Banerjee also said that TNT explosives and gelatine sticks were also found at the accident site.




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