NEW DELHI — An express train plowed into a crowd of Hindu pilgrims who were crossing the tracks at a remote station in northeastern India on Monday, killing dozens.
An enraged crowd dragged out the driver and began beating him, and set parts of the train on fire. The crowd remained so furious that hours passed before firefighters and rescue workers were able to approach the site of the accident, officials said.
The he high-speed Rajya Rani Express typically barrels through the Dhamara Ghat station in Bihar state without stopping at a speed of around 50 mph.
But Monday was the last day of a holy month in India, and hundreds of people were disembarking from two stopped passenger trains while on their way to a temple to offer holy water to Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction.
A top railway ministry official, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, said the driver had pulled the emergency brake when he saw people on the tracks but was unable to stop the train.
S.K. Singh, the deputy magistrate of the Saharsa district, said 37 people were confirmed dead, including several children. Indian railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge said 28 had died.