Sabotage, human error may have caused train crash in India: officials

22:04, July 19, 2010      

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A crane lifts a damaged carriage of a passenger train at the site of an accident at Sainthia in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal July 19, 2010. A speeding express rammed into the back of a stationary passenger train in eastern India on Monday, killing 60 people. (Xinhua)

The Indian railways authorities have not ruled out the possibility that sabotage or human error led to the train accident at Sainthia in West Bengal's Birbhum district on Monday, in which 60 people were killed and some 90 others were injured.

The deadly incident took place when the Sealdah-bound Uttar Banga Express rammed into the stationary Bhagalpur-Ranchi Vananchal Express from the rear at Sainthia station, some 191 km from Kolkota, the capital of the eastern Indian state.

Railway officials said they cannot rule out sabotage or tampering of signals, as the tracks at the accident site have an " absolute block signals system." This system allows only one train between two signals. The signal system could have been tampered with, or the Uttar Banga Express driver jumped it.

"Nothing can be ruled out. It may be possible that our equipment might have been tampered with. It will be known only after inquiry," Eastern Railways General Manager V. N. Tripathy told reporters here.

"The Commissioner of Railway Safety is holding an inquiry after which we will be able to know what exactly happened," he said.

To another question, he said that the Uttarbanga Express, which rammed into the rear of Vananchal Express, seemed to be running at a much higher speed than it was supposed to while entering the Sainthia station.

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