India train crash
Officials and bystanders gather beside the wreckage of train carriages at Rura, some 30kms west of Kanpur, following a train crash in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh [representational image]Sanjoy Kanojia/AFP

Around 27 people were killed and at least 60 wounded after an express train derailed in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday night (21 January).

The engine of the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express along with seven coaches derailed at around 11pm in the Vizianagaram district of the state while 13 of the twenty two coaches were unaffected.

A spokesperson for the East coast Railway, JP Mishra said: "Seven coaches and the engine of the 18448 Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailed near Kuneru station. Besides the engine, the luggage van, two general coaches, two sleeper coaches, one AC three tier coach and an AC two tier coach derailed."

Sub-collector Muralidharan Swain said that the number of casualties could go up as several are still trapped in the wreckage. The injured have reportedly been shifted to two hospitals in nearby areas and a team of doctors has arrived on the site of the accident.

According to reports, the train was travelling from Jagdalpur to Bhubaneswar when it derailed around 160km from Vishakhapatnam – the nearest city to the accident site.

In a series of tweets, the railway ministry said: "Total 4 accident relief vans rushed from different places. Priority is treatment, shifting of injured passengers to nearest hospital. @sureshpprabhu personally monitoring situation, directed senior officials to reach site immediately, ensure prompt rescue and relief ops."

The accident comes just two months after a deadly incident killed at least 146 people in Kanpur in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, one of the worst train accidents in the country in recent times.

A government report published in 2012 noted that at least 15,000 people were killed each year in train accidents in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed to invest at least $137bn (£110bn) over five years to modernise the Indian Railways to make it faster and safe.

The Indian government has also signed many deals with private companies to upgrade the railway network.