Indian navy rescues hundreds stranded on train in floods

Indian navy rescues hundreds stranded on train in floods

NEW DELHI- Agence France-Presse
Indian navy rescues hundreds stranded on train in floods

Indian navy helicopters and emergency service boats came to the rescue of more than 800 people stranded on a train in floods near Mumbai on July 27.

The Mahalaxmi Express left Mumbai late on July 26 for Kolhapur but got only 60 kilometres (37 miles) before it became stranded after a river burst its banks in torrential rain covering the tracks.

The train was stuck for several hours in Thane district before authorities called in the Indian navy and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) with helicopters, boats, and divers.

Indian Railways said more than 600 people were rescued within four hours of the operation starting.

There were nine pregnant women among at least 800 passengers, an NDRF spokesman told AFP.

Aerial images showed boats taking people wearing life jackets away from the stricken train, trapped in a sea of muddy brown water that covered surrounding fields.

Ambulances and at least 37 doctors were deployed to treat passengers, who were also given food and water, Indian Railways said.

A company spokesman added that a "special relief train" would take people to their final destinations.

Heavy monsoon rains battered Mumbai forcing the cancellation of 11 flights from the financial capital’s international airport on Saturday, while nine incoming planes were diverted to other airports.

At least 20 centimetres (eight inches) of rain fell in some parts of Mumbai over 24 hours.

More than 250 people have died in flooding across India in the past two weeks, with Assam and Bihar states the worst hit.