This is an absolutely tragic story about at least 58 people being ran over by a train while watching fireworks during a religious festival in northern India.
Several others were injured after being hit by the train in the city of Amritsar in northern India.
The victims had gathered near a level crossing to watch celebrations for Dussehra, a Hindu festival, SKY NEWS reports.
Railway officials told The Times of India the victims had spilled onto the tracks to get a good view of a burning effigy of the demon Ravana – a traditional of the annual gala.
The train was travelling from Jalandhar to the city in Punjab state, with TV channel Times Now reporting that those struck were unable to hear it approach due to the overbearing sound of firecrackers being let off.
The state police commissioner said 58 bodies have been recovered, but there could be more to come.
The speeding train did not stop following the accident, which also saw at least 60 people taken to hospital.
The incident happened at about 7pm local time and a number of rail services were cancelled afterwards.
Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi, who earlier in the day attended a Dussehra celebration in Delhi, confirmed that families of the victims would receive “financial relief” from the government.
He also tweeted: “Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar.
“The tragedy is heart-wrenching. My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and I pray that the injured recover quickly.”
A witness said the train didn’t even sound its whistle as it sped past the site, where hundreds were watching the burning of an effigy of demon Ravana during the Hindu festival of Dussehra.
While accidents are relatively common on India’s sprawling rail network, Friday’s was among the deadliest in recent years. In 2016, 146 people were killed when a train slid off railroad tracks in eastern India.
We send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the deceased.
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