Dozens Killed in Sri Lanka Train Crash


Benjamin Sand

Remains of bus that collided with intercity passenger train lies on tracks at railway crossing at Polgahawela, Wednesday

At least 30 people are dead and many others injured after a passenger train slammed into a crowded bus in Sri Lanka.

Police say the accident happened about 60-kilometers northeast of the capital, Colombo.

They say the bus was apparently racing a second bus to pick up passengers waiting at the next stop, when it was hit by the train.

Witnesses say the bus driver ignored warning signals and swerved around a gate, partially blocking the railway crossing.

The packed bus burst into flames after the train crushed it and then dragged it almost 300 meters.

Police Spokesman Rienzie Perera says an investigation is under way, but it appears the train had no way to avoid the collision.

"This is due to the negligence of the driver," he said. "It was racing another bus while the gates were closed."

Officials say all of the victims were on the bus and that many of the injured are in a serious condition.

Sri Lankan troops are helping with the rescue effort.

The train was traveling to the temple city of Kandy, while the bus was on its way to the capital.

Sri Lanka has seen a number of collisions caused by buses trying to dash across railway lines. But this is one of the worst death tolls involving a train in Sri Lanka's history.

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