Indian railway crash blamed on train drivers watching cricket match on phone

Indian railway crash blamed on train drivers watching cricket match on phone
Indian railway crash blamed on train drivers watching cricket match on phone

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - NEW DELHI — The drivers of a train that crashed in southern India in October, killing 14 people, were distracted watching a cricket match on a phone, India's railways minister said.

Dozens more were injured when the train collided with another train in Andhra Pradesh state.

Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the drivers were watching India play England during the one-day World Cup.

Both of them lost their lives in the incident.

Hundreds of millions of cricket fans tuned in to see the live broadcast of the match, which hosts India won.

"Both the loco-pilot and co-pilot were distracted by the cricket match," Vaishnaw said.

Three carriages of the passenger train, traveling between Visakhapatnam and Palasa, derailed when a second incoming train rammed into it from behind.

Hundreds of ambulances, doctors, nurses and rescue personnel were sent to the scene to rescue passengers and pull out bodies.

A preliminary investigation by the railway authorities immediately after the incident found that the train had overshot a signal. An official report by the Commissioners of Railway Safety is yet to be released, the Times of India reports.

Railways minister Vaishnaw said new safety systems would be installed following the incident to "detect any such distraction and make sure that the pilots and the assistant pilots are fully focussed on running the train".

India has one of the world's largest railway networks, which transports millions of passengers daily.

But it has seen several disasters over the years, the worst of which in recent times was a 1981 derailment in Bihar, which killed nearly 800 people.

There have been several major accidents in the last 12 months, including a three-train collision which killed as many as 300 people in the eastern state of Odisha in June.

Just last month, another incident on the railway saw a freight train traveled more than 70km (43.4 miles) without a driver.

Footage on social media showed the 53-wagon train from Jammu and Kashmir zooming past several stations at high speed of nearly 100km/h, before arriving in Punjab.

Officials told the PTI news agency: "The train was stopped after a railway official placed wood blocks on the tracks to stop the train." — BBC


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