Divers used underwater gas torches Saturday to cut through the wreckage of a train that plunged off a collapsed bridge into a monsoon-swollen lake, killing at least 127 people and injuring more than 600 others.
The search was called off at darkness Saturday and would be resumed at daybreak Sunday, a naval official said.Thousands of onlookers paddled up in canoes or stood on the wreckage of the 500-yard-long bridge as navy frogmen used torches to break into submerged train cars that plunged into the lake in southern India Friday.
Only the locomotive and the first car, a segregated carriage for women passengers desiring privacy, crossed the bridge safely before a section of the span collapsed.
Four cars were completely submerged in 30 feet of water, two others were partially submerged and three cars dangled precariously from the mangled bridge.
Officials and witnesses said a section of the 500-yard bridge gave way as the crowded express train crossed.
"The train jerked violently and swerved to the left," said Sadasivam Achari, a 50-year-old businessman whose leg was fractured in the accident. "I escaped because people fell over me and pushed me out of the door."
Other survivors said the driver braked suddenly before the train derailed.
The Island Express train was bound for the coastal town of Trivandrum in the southwestern state of Kerala from the inland city of Bangalore, 180 miles east of Madras, when the bridge collapsed at noon Friday.
Officials said workers had retrieved 113 bodies from the wreckage. At least 14 corpses remained inside one car, authorities said.
Railways Minister Madhavrao Scindia said 94 of the dead had been identified.
Officials said more than 600 people were injured, 78 seriously, but most had been released after receiving medical treatment.
Railway officials had said earlier there were 200 other people missing and presumed dead, based on estimates there were 900 people aboard the train.
But rescue officials later discounted that report, saying it was based in part on miscalculations on the number killed in each train car.
They added fishermen rushed to the site after the accident Friday and pulled out passengers, many of whom were local residents who returned home instead of reporting to authorities.
"It happened all of sudden. The train rolled down all of sudden. I was saved by a fisherman," the Times of India quoted a survivor.
The newspaper said fishermen dove into the lake immediately and attempted to rescue victims of the crash.
Police sealed off surrounding highways to ensure smooth flow of ambulances and rescue workers.
Railroad authorities announced proposed relief payments of $385 to families of the victims.
In New Delhi, Prime Ministr Rajiv Gandhi expressed his "deep shock and grief" over the tragedy.
The state government of Kerala declared two days of mourning.
Friday's accident was similar to one on June 6, 1981, when an express train plunged into the Bhagmathi River in northern Bihar state, killing some 360 people.