Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today said the rail mishap in Harda district appeared to have been caused by heavy rains which led to the base of the track getting washed away, resulting in snapping of the overhead contact of the engine.
"Prima facie it appears that the cause behind the mishap was heavy rains that was never witnessed in the Harda region in the recent memory. Due to it, base material under the tracks got washed out and the overhead contact of the engine got disconnected, because of which the trains got stranded on the tracks over the bridge on Machak river," Chouhan said here.
He said 25 passengers were killed and 50 injured in the twin train mishaps that took place late last night between Khirkiya and Bhirangi stations.
"Because of heavy weight of the train the tracks got pushed down and swollen river water entered into the bogies," Chouhan told reporters after visiting the mishap site, about 25 kms away from here.
"25 passengers were killed in the mishap and 50 others injured," he maintained in the presence of West Central Railway (WCR) General Manager (GM) Ramesh Chandra.
12 bodies were found inside the derailed train bogies, he said.
A government spokesperson, however, earlier said the death toll in the twin train tragedy stood at 29.
Among the injured, the condition of three is serious, Chouhan said.
He also informed that 11 bodies have been identified and their autopsy will be done in Harda only. The unidentified ones will be taken to Bhopal for postmortem, he added.
Chouhan also said that people from five villages near the mishap site have done a commendable job and would be rewarded for their services during the Independence Day on August 15.
Meanwhile, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and his deputy, Manoj Sinha have reached Bhopal but got stuck at the Bhopal Airport due to bad weather and were unable to fly in a chopper to the mishap site.
Heavy rains lashed the area again in the afternoon forcing Chouhan to take a train upto the mishap site.
Road connectivity to the site has been cut off again due to the downpour.
Talking to reporters at the Bhopal airport, Prabhu said, "our monitoring is on since last night....And we are monitoring the situation."
"I have also spoken to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan who is at the mishap site at present and unable to come back to Bhopal due to heavy rains," Prabhu said.
The Union minister said that when weather would be clear, he would fly to the mishap site to see the relief and rescue operation.
Prabhu said he will also hold a meeting of officials here to review the situation.