Penukonda: The Hampi Express early on Tuesday morning collided with a stationary goods train at Penukonda in in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. The accident that occurred at around 3.15 am left 25 dead and at least 35 other injured.
The accident happened when Hampi Express was on its way to Bangalore and reportedly overshot a signal.
According to reports, railway authorities have identified 18 of the 25 passengers who died.
The deceased were identified as Venkatesh Pawar (35), Rudrappa (35), Hemavathi (30), Pavani (12), Maisanna (9), Satyanarayana (58), A Laxmi (32), A Mallesh, Thimmappa Naik (31), Tagore Naik (35), S K Magshuda (22), Hussain Appa (21), V Ramaiah (55), S K Farood (20), V Laxman (16), Modala Appa (45) and P Gullappa (50).
According to Guntakal State Railway Police, the majority of the deceased that includes three women, and three children were labourers hailing from Koppal, Bellary, Raichur and Gadag districts of Karnataka.
Sources said that a faulty railway signal or a careless driver could be the cause of the collision. Rescue teams took almost two to three hours to reach the spot with the necessary equipment and bring the passengers to safety.
Union Rail Minister Mukul Roy on Tuesday swung into action, ordering a probe with a 10-day deadline.
"Within 10 days the probe report will be submitted and action will be taken," said Roy.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also expressed grief over the loss of lives in the train accident.
In a message, Singh said, "I am grieved over the tragic loss of lives. I extend my heartfelt condolences to all those who have lost their near and dear ones in the accident and wish a speedy recovery to those injured."
The Railway Ministry earlier announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the families of the dead, Rs 1 lakh for those with grievous injuries and Rs 50,000 for those with simple injuries. Karnataka Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh to the victims' families and Rs 25,000 to those who are injured.
Three bogies of the Hampi Express got derailed. The accident caused the first two compartments of the train to catch fire. Reports say there was a short circuit in the first compartment.
Reports said the Hampi Express was over-speeding and overshot a signal due to which it collided with the goods train. However the spokesperson for the railways said that nothing could be confirmed until the probe was over.
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(With Additional Inputs from PTI)