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11 July 2011

At least 64 dead from India train crash

Mangled passenger carriages at the site of a train accident in Fatehpur, 95 miles south of Lucknow, India, on July 10, 2011

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- At least 64 people were killed after a train carrying them jumped tracks in northern India on Sunday, a local official said.

The wreck in Fatehpur district of Uttar Pradesh state involved 13 cars of the Kalka Mail, Indian railway spokesman Anil Kumar Saxena said.

Senior district official Ramchandra confirmed 64 deaths from the derailment. The official, who has only one name, said a Swedish national is among the dead, and another Swedish man is among the injured. Ramchandra said the death toll could increase as workers sift through the wreckage.

Television footage showed giant blue carriages toppled on their sides and on top of each other at the scene of the crash. Local people were seen stretchering injured people off in bed sheets.

Residents were shown breaking windowpanes of wrecked compartments and lifting trapped passengers down by hand.

Authorities said they had rushed emergency crews and medical aid to the site.

India's massive rail network, used by hundreds of thousands of passengers daily, has a poor safety record.

On Thursday, more than 30 people were killed when a train collided with a bus trying to cross an unguarded railroad, also in Uttar Pradesh. The victims were all bus passengers.

Official figures show 100 train accidents occurred in India in the 2009-10 fiscal year and 115 in 2008-09.

Meanwhile Sunday, an explosion on tracks in Assam derailed another train, causing minor injuries to more than a dozen people, but no fatalities, according to railway officials.

The explosion occurred near Guwahati in Assam, part of India's remote, troubled northeastern region that is home to numerous rebel groups.