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Day after train shock: water level down, body count up

The water level in the rivulet, into which the Secunderabad-Rapelli Delta fast passenger train plunged yesterday, receded today revealing ei...

Written by Johnson T A | Hyderabad |
October 31, 2005

The water level in the rivulet, into which the Secunderabad-Rapelli Delta fast passenger train plunged yesterday, receded today revealing eight bodies caught in the bushes downstream, taking the toll in the mishap to 111.

Eight bodies were found entangled in bushes near Valugonda, upto two km from the spot where seven compartments of the train plummeted into the swirling waters after the tracks on the 20-foot-long bridge were swept away by flash floods. Navy divers from Vishakapatnam today continued their search for bodies in a downstream lake into which the rivulet flows.

‘‘The death toll is now 111. There may be a few bodies that were carried further away. We don’t expect the number to be more than four or five,’’ said Venugopala Rao, Superintendent of Police, Railway District. Relatives of many passengers today continued to search for their lost kin.

‘‘My brother Nagaraj, a student in Secunderabad boarded the train at Guntur. We have not found him at the three hospitals where bodies have been sent,’’ said Vijay Rao at the site.

Many of the bodies remained unidentified at the hospitals in Hyderabad and Nalgonda. Today hundreds of people from surrounding villages flocked to Valugonda to witness the operations being carried out by railway staff, the Army and local villagers.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Railway Security, R P Agarwal, today began an inquiry into the accident. He examined the collapsed bridge, the tracks and the train debris today. ‘‘We have recovered the speed indicator of the train. It will be examined soon and will provide us an idea of the speed of the train at the time of the accident,’’ said Agarwal.

‘‘It is too premature to comment on whether the driver was pushing the train beyond the prescribed speed limit for the weather conditions,’’ he said while reacting to reports that the driver, who also perished in the accident, was going too fast to react to the missing bridge. Agarwal would be examining whether the 15-year-old bridge could enough to withstand the force of water.

‘‘I will be holding inquiry sittings on November 3, 4 and 5. The report will be finalised in 10-15 days,’’ Agarwal said.

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