NEW DELHI — At least 19 people were killed when two passenger trains derailed in central India as monsoon rains flooded a track, officials said Wednesday.
Bijendra Kumar, a railway official in Bhopal, the main city in Madhya Pradesh state where the accidents happened, said at least 19 bodies have been recovered so far. One other person was seriously injured.
He said few other details were immediately available, but Junior Home Minister Kiren Rijiju said Wednesday that at least 250 people had been rescued.
The Kamayani Express was on its way to Mumbai when it derailed late Tuesday night near the town of Harda in Madhya Pradesh state, while the Janata Express was traveling in the opposite direction when it derailed soon after.
Railway official Anil Saksena said there had been flash floods in the region and the tracks had collapsed.
Saksena said at least two coaches had been partially submerged in a river and while most people had been pulled to safety, rescue workers were still searching for passengers likely trapped.
Six coaches from the Kamayani Express and the engine and four coaches from the Janata Express had derailed.
Saksena said that by Wednesday morning the unaffected coaches had been moved from the tracks.
Kumar said rescue operations were nearing a close Wednesday morning, and that railway workers would soon start repairing the tracks so train traffic can resume. Dozens of trains have been blocked from moving due to the accident.
The trains were crossing a bridge over the rain-swollen Machak river about 950 kilometers (590 miles) south of New Delhi.
While the rain had eased Wednesday, there was a heavy downpour for two days before the accident.
India has one of the world’s largest railway networks, but many parts of it are poorly maintained and accidents are common.