By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
A passenger train crashed into another train's rear carriage reserved for women and disabled passengers, killing 21 people and injuring 17 who remained trapped for hours Wednesday near the Taj Mahal in northern India, police said.
Rescuers had to cut open the wrecked compartment to free trapped passengers following the collision near Agra, the site of the famed white-marble monument about 210 kilometers southeast of New Delhi, said Rajesh Bajpai, a railway spokesman.
Rescuers recovered 19 bodies during an operation that lasted nearly seven hours, said Rajesh Dikshit, a police spokesman. Two of the 19 injured people died at a hospital, Dikshit told The Associated Press.
No foreigners were among the victims, he said.
The smashed coach was reserved for women and the physically handicapped, although others may have been among the victims, district Magistrate Suresh Chandra Sharma said.
The two trains were heading to New Delhi from southern India. One of the trains, the Mewar Express, had stopped at a red signal when the other train rammed into it from behind, Suresh Chandra Sharma, the district magistrate, told 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 soldiers stationed nearby assisted police and rail officials in rescuing the injured.
Authorities are still trying to determine why the accident had occurred, rail official Sri Prakash said.
Accidents are common on India's sprawling rail network, which is one of the world's largest, with most blamed on poor maintenance.
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