Six killed as truck rams into train in Andhra

Hyderabad: Six people, including a Congress lawmaker from Karnataka, were killed when a truck collided with an express train at a level crossing near Penukonda in Andhra Pradesh on Monday, an official said.

The driver of the granite-laden truck lost control and hit a coach of the Nanded Express after crashing into the closed gate at a level crossing in Anantpur district.

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Officials said 20 people were injured in the tragedy and they were admitted to hospitals in Penukonda and Bengaluru.

“The accident occurred at around 2:30 a.m. when the granite-laden truck gate-crashed into the passing Bengaluru-Nanded express (#16594) at a level-crossing between Rangepalli and Penukonda stations in Anantapur district,” a South Western Railway (SWR) official told IANS in Bengaluru.

The accident spot is about 140 km from Bengaluru in the Rayalaseema region of the neighbouring state.

Besides the truck driver, four passengers in an AC first class (H1) coach and its attendant were among the victims.

Though three other coaches, including an AC three-tier (B1) and two second class sleeper (S1 & S2) derailed due to the impact of collision, there were no casualties.

The ruling Congress legislator A. Venkatesh Naik was from Devadurga reserved assembly segment in Raichur district in the state’s northern region.

“Among victims was the H1 coach attendant,” the official noted.

Such was the impact of the collision that the H1 passenger car was ripped apart by a huge granite. All dead and almost all injured were from this coach.

Anantapur district collector K. Sasidhar said 20 buses were arranged for the stranded passengers to take them to their respective destinations.

Andhra Pradesh Health Minister Kamineni Srinivas and another minister from the district Palle Raghunath Reddy called on the injured and directed the officials to provide best possible treatment to them.

The accident affected the movement on Bengaluru-Guntakal route. Railway officials with the help of local authorities were engaged in removing the derailed coaches to clear the track.

The Bengaluru division of the zonal railway rushed rescue and relief staff to the accident spot.

“Efforts are being made to restore traffic on the route at the earliest as it got disrupted after the collision,” the official added.

A railway official in Penukonda said the accident was caused by the negligence of the driver, who was driving the truck at a high speed andA lost control over it.

Expressing shock over the accident, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has ordered district collector to conduct an inquiry.

A helpline desk has been set at Bengaluru city railway station with three phone lines – 080-22354108, 080-22156553 and 09731666751.