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19 July 1999 – Dharminia, Bihar State, India
At least 18 people were killed when a passenger train collided with a tractor-trailer packed with wedding guests in the eastern state of Bihar, officials and Indian news agencies said today. "The wedding party members were singing and playing musical instruments and ignored the danger at the unmanned railway crossing," one official said. The crash happened at Dharminia, some 150km north of the state capital.
16 July 1999 – Matmura Area, Uttar Pradesh, India
At least 17 people were killed and 209 injured today when a passenger train rammed into a derailed goods train in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, officials said. The force of the impact hurled the front cars of the New Delhi-bound passenger train on top of the rear carriages of the goods train, loaded with wheat. The GT-Express, coming from Madras, collided with the goods train at 02.15 hrs. Wheat sprinkled with blood scattered the railway tracks. The accident occurred about three minutes after the goods train came off the rails, witnesses said. Authorities began relief and rescue operations. The injured have been admitted to three hospitals nearby. Eight bodies have been identified. "We have admitted 45 people injured in the accident. At least four of them are in a serious condition," said S.B. Gupta, chief medical superintendent of the Agra Civil Hospital. Doctors said most of the injuries were severe fractures. Traffic was blocked on the central track between Agra and Mathora as crews worked to clear the rails.
2 August 1999 – Gaisal Station, West Bengal, India
At least 50 people were feared killed and 25 injured when a large explosion damaged two trains in north-east India today, the Press Trust of India said. PTI later said 70 people were killed and 135 injured in the explosion that rocked the Awadh-Assam express and the Brahmaputra Mail trains at the Gaisal station, some 80km from New Jalpaiguri in the eastern state of West Bengal. New Jalpaiguri is 500km north of Calcutta. Railway officials told Reuters in Guwahati, the main city of the north-eastern state of Assam, that 40 people were killed in the blast. No other details were immediately available.
2 August 1999 – At least 250 people have been killed and more than 1,000 injured in a train crash in eastern India. Reports said the collision happened when an express train bound for Delhi hit another train head-on at Gaisal station, in the state of West Bengal. Explosions were heard and initially a bomb attack was suspected, but it now appears both trains ended up on the same line after a signal failure. Officials said at least one of the trains was carrying explosives in a military compartment, which may have caused the trains to catch fire after the crash. Rescue teams have so far removed 180 bodies from the wrecked trains, but more bodies have been counted inside the carriages. The rescuers have been unable to get to two carriages at the bottom of the heap of wreckage, and fear that the death toll could eventually exceed 500. Soldiers with gas cutters were trying to open the two carriages. The collision occurred at 0130, local time (2000, UTC, August 1), as the Brahmaputra Mail train from Gauhati passed through the station where the Awadh-Assam Express was stationary. The engine of the express was blasted into the air by the impact of the explosion. Fourteen carriages and the engines of both trains were completely destroyed.
2 August 1999 – Hundreds of people were killed and injured when two crowded trains hit each other head-on in eastern India a few hours before dawn. Officials said the confirmed death toll had risen to 220 as bodies were pulled from the mangled engines and 13 carriages at Gaisal station and that at least 350 were injured. "Ten of the wounded have died in hospital and 210 bodies have been recovered from the crashed bogies," said an official at a control room set up at Islampur, near the crash site. Officials expected the death toll to rise further. Local district magistrate Prashant told Reuters signal failure was to blame. Six carriages of one train tore into seven of the other, trapping passengers in a jumble of twisted metal. Railway Minister Nitish Kumar visited the injured at a local hospital and said there would be an inquiry into how the trains had ended up on the same line. Doctors and a group of about 25 local medical students who had been working flat out since 0400 hrs said they feared hundreds more would be found in second-class carriages. At Islampur regional hospital, Dr D.K. Kundu said he had 225 patients, the vast majority with multiple fractures and head injuries. Another 125 had been referred to a medical college in Siliguri because of their serious condition. A special train was leaving Guwahati tonight to take relatives to identify bodies at the crash site. Meanwhile, railway workers were trying to clear wreckage from the tracks to allow rail traffic to resume. A railway official said movement of tea, petroleum products and minerals from the north-east had been hit by the accident. The president and prime minister expressed shock and grief, and Kumar said compensation of 400,000 rupees ($9,240) would be paid to each of the victims' families.
3 August 1999 – India's railway minister said today he planned to resign over the head-on collision between two crowded trains which killed 230 people and probably many more still trapped in mangled carriages. "I thought that I should resign, own moral responsibility," Nitish Kumar said in the eastern city of Patna a day after the trains smashed into each other at high speed. "There is no politics in it. I told the prime minister that I am shocked beyond words and I should not remain in office." Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said he had advised Kumar not to take any hasty step, but to discuss the matter on his return to New Delhi in the evening. The Awadh-Assam Express, bound for Guwahati in the north-eastern state of Assam, collided with the Delhi-bound Brahmaputra Mail at 01.55 yesterday (20.25, UTC, August 1). Both trains were travelling at about 90 kph when they collided at Gaisal in the eastern state of West Bengal, one media report said. An inquiry was launched into why the two trains were on the same line on a section where there are two tracks, though it is widely believed signal failure was to blame. Officials at the crash site said 230 people were confirmed dead and 297 were injured, many of them seriously. Two heavy-duty cranes cranked into action at Gaisal station, some 400km north of Calcutta, to disentangle the wreckage of three carriages piled one on top of another. "Another 100 bodies may still be trapped, that's my guess, don't blame me if I am wrong," local district magistrate Prashant said. "It will at least be at sunset or later in the night before all the bodies can be removed. It is a hopeless case as there are no cries for help," he said. Around 50 soldiers joined the rescue team this morning armed with cutting equipment that was badly lacking in the immediate aftermath of the accident. By early today, rescue workers had cleared one track and train services to and from the land-locked mountainous north-east, including the tea and oil rich state of Assam, had resumed. Shanti Narain, a member of the railway traffic board, said it was too early to say whether the accident was due to equipment failure or human error.
4 August 1999 – Workers took a four-hour break – their first in 48 hours before getting back to clearing wreckage and bodies today from an Indian train collision that killed at least 275 people. "These people have been working non-stop since the accident, they needed some rest," a district official said, as search operations resumed at 0500 hrs. The Awadh-Assam Express, bound for Guwahati in the north-eastern state of Assam, collided with the Delhi-bound Brahmaputra Mail at 01.55, Monday (August 2). Officials put the toll two days after the crash at 275 dead and 297 injured, with hopes of finding anyone alive in the mass of twisted metal now virtually nil. Railway minister Nitish Kumar gave Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee his resignation, saying he took moral responsibility for the disaster. Officials at the crash site said both trains were travelling at about 80-90 km per hour when they collided at Gaisal in the eastern state of West Bengal. An inquiry was launched into why the two trains were on the same line on a section where there are two tracks.
4 August 1999 – The death toll from the rail collision in eastern India neared 300 today as the search through tangled wreckage went into its third day. As the last decomposing bodies were cut away from the jumble of engines and carriages in a remote corner of West Bengal state, attention switched to who or what was responsible for the country's most serious rail accident since 1995. Railway Minister Nitish Kumar yesterday resigned to take moral responsibility for the disaster, and spoke of "criminal negligence" by railway staff. The Awadh-Assam Express, heading for north-eastern state of Assam, and the Delhi-bound Brahmaputra Mail collided head-on early on Monday (August 2). With all hope gone of finding more survivors, weary rescue workers at Gaisal station, some 400km north of Calcutta, took a four-hour break – their first in 48 hours. As they resumed work at dawn, the death toll was 275 and the number of injured 297. Officials said the final body count was not likely to exceed 300. Officials said that many of the victims recovered in the past 24 hours had decomposed beyond recognition, and rescue workers were approaching the site with deodorants and disinfectants. An inquiry has been launched into why the two crowded trains, many of whose passengers were asleep at the time, ended up on the same line of a two-track stretch of railway. All but a few of the bodies recovered were intact, which has led officials to question initial reports that both trains were travelling at 80-90 kph when they collided. J.B. Lepcha, a policeman at the accident site, said even the bodies of the engine drivers and their assistants were "more or less intact. The engine drivers should have been smashed. It is puzzling," he said. Officials said the trains may have slowed because the drivers had applied emergency brakes on seeing another train approach on the same track. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said yesterday a special commission for railway safety would be set up.
5 August 1999 – Rescue workers today gave up searching for bodies in the tangled wreckage of one of India's worst train crashes and authorities began investigating the cause of the accident, railway officials said. "The operation was stopped this morning and the tracks were cleared of debris to restore normal traffic at Gaisal," Northeast Frontier Railway's spokesman S. Hajong said. Officials said at least 285 people had died and 300 were injured in the head-on collision on Monday (August 2) of two trains operated by Northeast Frontier Railway at its station in Gaisal, some 400km north of Calcutta. North-east Frontier Railway is a division of Indian Railways, and Hajong said Indian Railways' chief safety official had begun investigating the crash of the Awadh-Assam Express, heading for Assam, and the Delhi-bound Brahmaputra Mail. "He has already started collecting evidence from eyewitnesses, the public, passengers and railway officials from this morning," he said. Investigations were focusing on why the two crowded trains, many of whose passengers were asleep at the time, were on the same line of a two-track stretch of railway.