New Delhi: More than 115 people were feared dead and 200 seriously injured after 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express train derailed near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh in the early hours of Sunday.

The accident happened around 3:30am near Pukhrayan, about 60 km off Kanpur. Local residents provided immediate help, followed by emergency response teams which were rushed to the spot.

The cause of the derailment is believed to be due to a rail fracture.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), which also reached the spot, stated that rescue operation was hampered by the severe damage to the coaches. More than 90 bodies have been extricated from the debris.

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“One AC and one sleeper coach have suffered maximum damage. The bogies are inter-twined and people trapped inside are still alive. These bogies need to be cut very carefully because one bogie is mounted on top of the other, otherwise it will injure two women who are trapped inside," R.K. Pachnanda, director general, NDRF said from the accident site.

The Army, paramedics and the police are also supporting the medical response teams in the relief operations.

NDRF said the injured were being taken to nearby hospitals for immediate assistance, while control rooms have been set up in Patna to assist families of those affected.

While minister of state for railways Manoj Sinha stated that it was possibly a rail fracture that led to the accident, there was no confirmation.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has asked the director-general of police to personally monitor the rescue operations while railway minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an inquiry into the accident.

Prabhu announced an ex-gratia of Rs3.5 lakh for families of passengers killed in the accident, Rs50,000 for those who were critically injured and Rs25,000 for those with minor injuries. He reached the accident site in the evening to review the rescue operations.

Home minister Rajnath Singh, while expressing his condolences to families of those affected, said an inquiry would be carried out into the accident. “Our focus is to administer immediate rescue and relief to the affected. We will carry out a probe in the matter," he stated.

PTI contributed to the story.

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