Rescuers with cranes and blowtorches sliced through the tangled remains of two passenger trains Monday while police searched for the signalman blamed for the worst train wreck in India's history.
At least 300 passengers died and 500 others were injured Sunday when the Puroshottam Express rammed the Kalindi Express outside Firozabad railway station in northern India.The Kalindi Express had stopped on the tracks after hitting a cow and damaging its brakes. A signalman gave the crowded Purshottam a green light to continue down the same line, officials for India's state-owned railway said.
The signalman vanished after the disaster at 2:45 a.m., just 15 minutes after he came on duty.
"It is definitely human negligence of the railway staff," said M.N. Chopra, a divisional manager of the railway.
Rescuers searched for more victims Monday, using blowtorches to cut through the train wreckage. Corpses were laid in rows in a muddy field nearby.
"The entire area was reverberating with cries and shrieks," said Manas Patnaik, 29, who was traveling from the eastern state of Orissa to New Delhi on the Puroshottam Express.
"I stumbled several times on severed limbs and some people - I don't know whether they were sleeping or dead," Patnaik told the United News of India news agency.
Between the two trains, there were about 2,200 passengers, most of whom were sleeping when the collision occurred.