Eighteen people, including five children, were killed when the auto-rickshaw in which they were travelling was hit by a train at a manned level crossing at Sagauli in Bihar’s East Champaran district on Monday afternoon.
Officials, however, so far have confirmed 15 deaths. Railway authorities said though a gateman was deployed at the level crossing between Sugauli and Semra railway stations, he did not close the gate before arrival of the train.
The accident took place at around 4 pm when Muzaffarpur-Dehradun Rapti Express hit an overcrowded auto- rickshaw carrying 18 members of a family at gate no 169 C.
As the autorickshaw was trapped under engine wheels, no passenger could be saved.
Samastipur division railway commissioner Arun Malik said, “Prima facie, lapse is evident on part of the gateman. We are also trying to ascertain if there was lack of coordination from upper level.” The state government has announced ex gratia of Rs 1.5 lakh.