Image: Onlookers stand at site of train accident on the outskirts of Mathura.
Reuters
Onlookers stand at the site of a deadly train accident in northern India.
updated 10/21/2009 5:40:43 PM ET 2009-10-21T21:40:43

A passenger train in northern India crashed into another train's rear carriage reserved for women and disabled passengers, killing 22 people and injuring 16 who remained trapped for hours Wednesday near Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal, police said.

Rescuers had to cut open the wrecked compartment to free trapped passengers following the crash outside Agra, about 130 miles (210 kilometers) southeast of New Delhi, said Rajesh Bajpai, a railway spokesman.

Rescuers recovered 19 bodies during an operation that lasted nearly seven hours, said Rajesh Dixit, a police spokesman. Three of the 19 injured people died at a hospital, police said. No foreigners were among the victims, he said.

Reserved for women, handicapped
The smashed coach was reserved for women and physically handicapped people, although some additional people may have been among the victims, district Magistrate Suresh Chandra Sharma said.

The two trains were heading to New Delhi from southern India. One of the trains, the Mewar Express, was stopped at a red signal when the other train rammed into it from behind, Suresh Chandra Sharma, the district magistrate, told The Associated Press.

"We felt a massive jolt," said Ramesh Charan, a passenger aboard the Mewar Express. "Some people sleeping on upper berths fell to the coach floor by the impact of the collision."

Villagers and army soldiers stationed nearby helped police and rail officials in rescuing injured people.

Authorities are still trying to determine why the accident happened, rail official Sri Prakash said.

Accidents are common on India's sprawling rail network, which is one of the world's largest, with most accidents blamed on poor maintenance.

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Photos: Deadly train crash in India

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  1. Damaged compartments of a Mewar express are lifted using a crane after a Goa Express train rammed into it, near Agra, southeast of New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, Oct. 21. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Indian Railways Protection Force personnel and bystanders look at the point of impact between the two trains. (Prakash Singh / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Rescuers use gas cutters to open a wrecked compartment to free trapped passengers. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A child passenger is rescued from the Mewar Express train. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Bodies of victims lie outside a hospital mortuary in Marthura, India. (Saurabh Das / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A victim of a train accident is carried by rescuers and army soldiers at the site of the collision. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Onlookers stand at the site of the collision. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Ravinder Yadav, left, and his brother, Manoj Yadav, grieve over the body of their mother, Geeta Devi, a victim of the train collision, at a mortuary in Mathura, India. (Saurabh Das / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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