Indian train crash kills 22

NEW DELHI – A passenger train in northern India crashed into another train’s rear carriage reserved for women and disabled passengers, killing 22 people and injuring 16 who remained trapped for hours Wednesday near Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal, police said.

Rescuers had to cut open the wrecked compartment to free trapped passengers following the crash outside Agra, about 130 miles southeast of New Delhi, said Rajesh Bajpai, a railway spokesman.

Rescuers recovered 19 bodies during an operation that lasted nearly seven hours, said Rajesh Dixit, a police spokesman. Three of the 19 injured people died at a hospital, police said.

No foreigners were among the victims, Dixit said.

The smashed coach was reserved for women and physically handicapped people, though some other people may have been among the victims, said district Magistrate Suresh Chandra Sharma.

The two trains were heading to New Delhi from southern India. The Mewar Express was stopped at a red signal when the other train rammed it from behind, Sharma, the district magistrate, said to The Associated Press.

“We felt a massive jolt,” said Ramesh Charan, a passenger aboard the Mewar Express. “Some people sleeping on upper berths fell to the coach floor by the impact of the collision.”

Villagers and army soldiers stationed nearby helped police and rail officials rescue injured people.

Authorities are still trying to determine why the accident happened, said rail official Sri Prakash.