- At least 27 dead and many more injured, authorities say
- 2 trains, carrying up to 1,600 people, derailed off the same bridge within minutes
- Heavy monsoon rains in recent weeks have caused flooding across country
The two trains were traveling just minutes apart on the same bridge when both derailed off the track in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, railway officials say.
The two crowded trains had as many as 1,600 people on board, divisional railway manager Alok Kumar told CNN.
Ten compartments from the trains, which had 23 and 24 compartments respectively, derailed. Kumar added that there were 12 passenger fatalities, while the rest of the bodies recovered from the scene are believed to be local residents. The number of casualties is expected to mount.
The accidents took place close to midnight, with the darkness and heavy rain hampering the rescue operation that is still underway, Indian Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said.
Monsoon rains have hit large regions of the country in recent weeks claiming at least 178 lives
and affecting an estimated 10 million across western and eastern India.
It is the fifth train accident to occur in the country this year. In March, a passenger train overshot
a stop and jumped its tracks killing at least 30 people and injuring more than 50 others.
Train travel is the most popular form of long-distance travel in India but the railway system is known to be poorly maintained.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to express his concern about the latest accidents, adding that the government was monitoring the situation closely.