Indian train kills elephants crossing tracks

An Indian elephant. Seven elephants were killed in the train collision while 10 others were seriously injured. Photograph: Duncan Willetts/Sportsphoto

Seven elephants, including two calves, die after train hits herd in West Bengal forest, the worst such crash in recent memory


A passenger train in eastern India ploughed into a herd of elephants, killing seven including two calves, as they walked across the tracks in a forest, authorities have said.

The crash was the worst of its kind in recent memory, said Hiten Burman, forestry minister in West Bengal on Thursday. Ten other elephants were seriously injured and the death toll could rise, he said.

The train was travelling at 50mph (80kph) through the Chapramari forest when it struck the herd of 40 elephants crossing the tracks on Wednesday at dusk, Burman said.

“The herd scattered, but returned to the railway tracks and stood there for quite some time before they were driven away by forest guards and railroad workers who rushed to the spot after the accident,” he said.

Burman said railway authorities have ignored requests from his department to have trains reduce their speeds inside the elephant corridor in Jalpaiguri district, about 415 miles from Kolkata, the state capital.

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