At least 104 people were killed when 14 coaches of an overnight passenger train rolled off the track in northern India early Sunday, reports the AP, with rescue workers using cutting torches to try to pull out survivors, police said. Daljeet Chaudhary, a director general of police, said the death toll was likely to rise because rescue workers had yet to gain access to one of the worst-damaged coaches. About 150 people were injured, he said. The train derailed at around 3:10am, jolting awake passengers who had settled in for the long trip. Bodies were retrieved from mangled coaches that had fallen on their side. One of the passengers, Satish Kumar, said the train was traveling at normal speed when it stopped suddenly. "It restarted, and then we heard a crash," said Kumar, whose coach remained on the track. "When we came out of the train, we saw a few coaches had derailed."
Some coaches crumpled when they crashed into others, trapping hundreds inside. The cause of the derailment was not immediately clear. Accidents are relatively common on India's sprawling rail network, which is the world's third largest but lacks modern signaling and communication systems. Most crashes are blamed on poor maintenance and human error. Rescue workers, soldiers, and members of India's disaster management force pulled 104 bodies from the wreckage, said Chaudhary, inspector-general of police in Uttar Pradesh state. Rescuers used cutting torches to open the derailed train cars to try to reach those trapped inside, while cranes were deployed to lift the coaches from the tracks. However, they were moving cautiously because some of the coaches were precariously tilted, and there was a danger of the coach toppling over, possibly injuring those trapped inside. "We are being very careful in using the cutting torches," Chaudhary said.