As many as 150 people were feared killed as Secunderabad-bound Delta Fast passenger train derailed near Gollapalli village between Valigonda and Ramannapet Stations in the Nadikudi-Bibinagar section of the South Central Railway with seven of its coaches plunging off a bridge into a rain-swollen rivulet at Valugodu, some 80 kms from Hyderabad, early on Saturday.
"While over 100 bodies have been recovered from the site, 20 to 30 passengers are feared to have been washed away in the swirling rivulet," Andhra Pradesh Home Minister K Jana Reddy said.
The engine and first seven bogies of the Repalle- Secunderabad train fell into the rivulet at 0430 IST due to breaches on the track caused by gushing waters of four overflowing reservoirs following incessant rains in the region in the last two days.
"Just 20 minutes before the mishap, Narsapur Express passed through the same track which shows that flash floods were the cause of the mishap," Reddy said.
Nearly 250 army and paramilitary personnel along with locals were involved in rescue operations, which are likely to stretch for another 24 hours due to heavy rains and breaches on roads.
Army and Railway Police Force personnel are using gas cutters to cut open the shell and retrieve the bodies.
Two IAF helicopters have been pressed into service to help rescue some of the survivors.
Rescue personnel helped several persons who climbed atop trees to safer places.
Victims were shifted to Nalgonda and Secunderabad hospitals.
Southern Railway General Manager Thomas Varghese, who is also holding additional charge of the South Central Railway, visited the spot.
He said it would take another five to six days to restore the line.