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20 Killed in India Train Derailment

June 16, 2004

NEW DELHI (AP) _ A passenger train derailed Wednesday after smashing into boulders on a bridge, killing at least 20 people and injuring 50, officials said.

The engine of the Bombay-bound Matsyagandha Express jumped the tracks and plunged off the bridge, and two of the train’s eight cars were hanging precariously off the structure in the Raigad district of Maharashtra state, spokeswoman Vaishali Patange told The Associated Press.

At least 20 people were killed, Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav. Earlier, Patange said 12 bodies had been recovered from the two hanging coaches.

The rail track slices through hills on both sides. Boulders had tumbled onto the tracks from a nearby cliff following heavy monsoon rains, the railway minister said.

The route is considered one of India’s most scenic. It cuts through hills and rivers along the western coast and has 91 tunnels between Bombay and Mangalore.

Ajit Gawli, medical superintendent of a government-run hospital in Mahad, a town 12 miles west of the accident site, said 20 people had died and at least 50 others were hospitalized. Three of the injured were in serious condition with fractures and chest injuries. He said six of those killed were young children.

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