Anantapur | A Congress MLA from Karnataka was among six persons killed when a speeding granite-laden truck rammed into Bangalore-Nanded Express train after breaking the gate at a level crossing in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh in the wee hours today. Four bogies of the Nanded-bound train derailed as the truck broke the closed boom gate at Madakasira after overlooking all safety warnings and hit the H-1 coach at around 2.20 AM, the Railways said.
Venkatesh Naik, Congress MLA from Deodurg in Raichur district of Karnataka who has been a four-time Lok Sabha MP, was among three passengers killed, officials said, adding the driver of the truck and two railway employees — an AC coach mechanic and an attender — also died in the mishap. Two injured persons have been shifted to hospital in Bangalore. However, DIG of Anantapur, K Satyanarayana, said the truck cleaner was among those killed in the mishap while the driver fled.
He said it appeared the truck’s brakes had failed, but the actual cause of the accident will be ascertained after an inquiry. The AC bogie was crushed and three sleeper coaches of the train derailed in the incident in Anantapur district, which borders Karnataka and is located around 350 km from Hyderabad. Railways has ordered an inquiry into the mishap by Commissioner Railway Safety of Southern Circle who will submit the report at the earliest, Railway spokesperson Anil Saxena said in Delhi.
Many trains were affected in the section and have been diverted, according to Railway officials. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said it was an unfortunate incident and conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims. He said ex-gratia will be given to the affected. Cogress President Sonia Gandhi and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi also expressed anguish over the loss of lives.
In a statement, Railways said the manned level crossing gate was closed to facilitate safe passage of Train No 16594 and red flasher light showing danger was on and continuous siren/hooter was sounded to warn the road users. Besides, there are speed breakers before the L C Gate and the area is well-lit, it said.
The loaded vehicle approached the level crossing at high speed, broke the closed boom gate and hit the H-1 coach of the running train. The truck driver did not heed to any of the warnings, the Railways said, adding it resulted in derailment of four coaches. The derailment was due to road lorry hitting the train at closed Level Crossing Gate overlooking all safety warnings, it said.
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