2 trains derail while crossing rain-flooded tracks in central India, casualties unknown

Two passenger trains have derailed in central India as monsoon rains flooded a track, officials said Wednesday.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, but Junior Home Minister Kiren Rijiju said Wednesday that at least 250 people had been rescued.

The Kamayani Express was on its way to Mumbai when it derailed late Tuesday night near the town of Harda in Madhya Pradesh state, while the Janata Express was traveling in the opposite direction when it derailed soon after.

Railway official Anil Saksena said there had been flash floods in the region and the tracks had collapsed.

Saksena said at least two coaches had been partially submerged in a river and while most people had been pulled to safety, rescue workers were still searching for passengers likely trapped.

Six coaches from the Kamayani Express and the engine and four coaches from the Janata Express had derailed.

He said a quick emergency response had likely averted a high casualty count.

Saksena said that by Wednesday morning the unaffected coaches had been moved from the tracks.

The trains were crossing a bridge over the rain-swollen Machak river about 950 kilometers (590 miles) south of New Delhi.

While the rain had eased Wednesday, there was a heavy downpour for two days before the accident.

Federal rescue workers were at the site, Rijiju said.

India has one of the world's largest railway networks, but many parts of it are poorly maintained and accidents are common.