updated 2/28/2008 12:47:52 AM ET 2008-02-28T05:47:52

Sixteen people, including two children, were crushed to death under a train in western India, a local railway official said Thursday.

The accident took place late Wednesday night near the city of Surat in Gujarat state, railway police officer H.M. Patel told The Associated Press.

The bodies of the victims, who had disembarked at Surat and were walking along the rail tracks, were spotted by the driver of another train, Patel added.

Those killed were believed to be poor migrant laborers from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, he said. It was not immediately clear why they were walking on the tracks.

In India it's not unusual for poor travelers, who often do not have valid tickets, to hop off a train as it approaches a station to avoid detection by railway ticket checkers. They then walk along the tracks until they can board another train without attracting notice.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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