- The Washington Times - Friday, January 3, 2003

NEW DELHI, Jan. 3 (UPI) — At least 18 people were killed Friday in the derailment of four cars of a passenger train in western India.

Reports say the train cars jumped the railway track when the driver applied emergency brakes to avoid colliding with a train parked on the same track near Ghatnandur station in Maharashtra state.

Rescue workers used acetylene torches to tear apart the cars and reach survivors. At least 40 people were injured in the accident.

Railway Minister Nitish Kumar blamed the accident on human error, saying two railway officials responsible for maintaining traffic were missing.

The driver of speeding Secunderabad-Manmad Express train applied emergency brakes when he saw a freight train parked on the track, sending four train cars of his train off the track.

Indian railway, with more than 15 million employees, is the world's biggest employer. More than 12.5 million people travel by Indian railway every day and it has the highest accident rate.

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