Press Trust Of India Via AP Rescuers work at the site of passenger trains that derailed in Balasore district, in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, on Friday.

More than 280 people are dead and 900 hurt after 2 trains derail in India

By The Associated Press

Press Trust Of India Via AP Rescuers work at the site of passenger trains that derailed in Balasore district, in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, on Friday.

NEW DELHI — Rescuers waded through piles of debris and wreckage to pull out bodies and free people on Saturday after two passenger trains derailed in India, killing more than 280 people. Hundreds of others were trapped inside more than a dozen mangled rail cars overnight in one of the country’s deadliest train crashes in decades.

The accident, which happened about 220 kilometers (137 miles) southwest of Kolkata on Friday night, led to a chaotic scene as rescuers climbed atop the wrecked trains to break open doors and windows using cutting torches to free survivors.

About 900 people were injured in the accident in Balasore district in the eastern state of Odisha, said P.K. Jena, the state’s top administrative official. The cause was under investigation.

At least 280 bodies were recovered overnight and into Saturday morning, Sudhanshu Sarangi, director of Odisha’s fire department, told The Associated Press. He said more than 800 injured passengers were taken to various hospitals with many in critical condition.

Rescuers were cutting through the destroyed rail cars to find people who may still be trapped. Sarangi said it was possible that people were stuck underneath but that it was unlikely they would still be alive.

“By 10 p.m. (on Friday) we were able to rescue the survivors. After that it was about picking up dead bodies,” he said. “This is very, very tragic. I have never seen anything like this in my career.”

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