COCHIN, India, and July 8 Reuter: Up to 100 people were killed and 500 injured when a train plunged into a lake in South India on Friday, railway and naval sources said.

They said the express train was heading for Trivandrum, capital of Kerala state, when it left the rails and plunged into a monsoon swollen lake near the town of Quilon.

Three helicopters carrying divers were rushed from the Indian naval base at Cochin to the site 100 km to the south to help in rescue operations, naval sources said. Railway officials in Trivandrum and Cochin said 65 bodies had been recovered, including 15 women and five children. Rescue Operations were expected to go on all night.

They said 25 of the casualties were seriously injured in the accident which occurred at 1:10 p.m.

The train, the usually crowded Island Express from Bangalore, was crossing the Perumon Bridge over Ashtamudy Lake about 15 km from the coastal town of Quilon.

Nine of its 14 carriages left the track, but railway officials said they did not yet know what caused the accident, which partially demolished the bridge.

Quilon is a small commercial and fishing center on India’s South Western coast.

India’s worst train disaster was in June 1981 when 300 people died when an express crashed into a river in Bihar state in the northeast.

Article extracted from this publication >> July 15, 1988