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53 die, hundreds hurt in India derailments

NEW DELHI, July 11 (UPI) -- The death toll rose to 53 in a passenger train derailment in India and authorities investigated reports that another train may have been derailed by a bomb.

Hundreds of people were injured in the two crashes Sunday.

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The passenger train, carrying more than 1,200 people from Kolkata in east India to New Delhi, apparently at high speed, jumped tracks near Malwa station in northern Uttar Pradesh state. Up to 15 coaches derailed, requiring a massive effort to extricate passengers and bodies trapped in the mangled wreckage.

The Press Trust of India said it was the worst train wreck in India this year.

"Fifty-three bodies, including that of a Swedish national, have been recovered so far. About 250 are undergoing treatment at a hospital … ," a police official said.

Railway officials were quoted as saying there were no faults with the tracks. Survivors and eyewitnesses said the engineer, who was critically injured, had applied the emergency brakes before the afternoon accident, a Times of India report said.

Officials had not ruled out sabotage.

In the other incident, about 100 passengers were injured, 15 seriously, when four coaches of the Guwahati-Puri Express train derailed Sunday night near Rangiya in India's far eastern Assam state.

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Some passengers and people living nearby reported hearing an explosion moments before the train left the tracks. The Times said authorities had not confirmed or denied a terrorist attack but were investigating.

On Thursday, an express train collided with a bus carrying a wedding party at an unmanned railroad crossing in Etah in Uttar Pradesh, killing at least 33 bus passengers and injuring 17 more.

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