Train hits crowd at religious festival in India; at least 50 dead

At least 50 people were killed and over 200 injured Friday when a train struck a group of people gathered on the railway in India, police said.

Attendees of a Hindu festival in Amristar, India, gather on railroad tracks on Friday after a train struck a group of people, killing at least 50. Photo by Raminder Pal Singh/EPA-EFE
Attendees of a Hindu festival in Amristar, India, gather on railroad tracks on Friday after a train struck a group of people, killing at least 50. Photo by Raminder Pal Singh/EPA-EFE

The crowd was watching fireworks celebrating the Hindu festival of Dusshera in Amristar, in northern Punjab state, and did not hear the approaching train, eyewitnesses said.

The accident occurred at the celebration’s finale, featuring the loud burning of a firecracker-filled effigy of a demon. Groups of onlookers retreated from the fire and spilled onto the tracks as two trains arrived from separate directions on parallel tracks. Although one train stopped, it gave the onlookers little opportunity to escape the other train, officials said.

Officials say the death toll could rise, BBC News reported.

Rajesh Sharma, Punjab magistrate for Armristar, said 50 dead were found after the incident.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the officials who sent condolences and called for medical treatment for the injured.

ByEd Adamczyk