An express train slammed into a parked freight train in northern India today, killing at least 40 people and reducing cars to a heap of torn and twisted metal, officials said. The Gorakhpur Express passenger train was traveling at high speed and slammed on its brakes in an attempt to stop, but it plowed into the train sitting on the tracks near a railway station in Uttar Pradesh state, a district magistrate said.
Six of the cars on the express train derailed, with one car for unreserved general seating taking the brunt of the impact and containing most of the 40 casualties so far counted, a police officer said. "It has been reduced to a mangled iron mesh," he said. "We do not know as how many people were there." While the car seats 72, such trains are often filled beyond capacity. Most of the victims were poor farm workers returning to their homes from the neighboring state of Haryana, a police rep said. Authorities were searching for the station master, who disappeared after the accident. (Read more India stories.)