Nearly 500 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force and the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action, engaged in anti-Maoist operations in West Midnapore district, were the first to reach the site where a Maharashtra-bound express train derailed on Friday morning, killing 68 passengers.
A CRPF spokesman told reporters that personnel of the 165 CRPF battalion posted at Maoist-affected Manikpara, close to the accident spot, arrived at 2 am and were the first rescuers on the scene. The incident took place at approximately 1.30 am.
Sixty-eight passengers of the Howrah-Kurla Lokmanya Tilak Gyaneshwari Super Deluxe Express train were killed and 200 injured in a Maoist attack which led to the derailment of 13 coaches, five of which were hit by a goods train coming from the opposite direction.
The spokesman said that they were soon joined by personnel of the 184 battalion and six CoBRA teams, which recovered 41 bodies and evacuated 113 injured passengers.
District and railway police personnel arrived later, he added.
Indian Air Force personnel from nearby Kalaikunda airbase airlifted the injured to the hospital, he said.