NEW DELHI — A signal error that led a train to wrongly change tracks was to blame for the crash in eastern India that killed nearly 300 people and injured hundreds more, officials said Sunday.
The likely cause emerged as families from across India rushed to the site for news of missing loved ones as rescue workers combed through the mangled wreckage of overturned railway cars.
Officials were also rushing to restore train service, as the disaster raised new concerns about safety and modernization in the world's most populous country, where the rail network serves as a lifeline.
Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said an error in the electronic signaling system led the train to change tracks and crash into a freight train Friday night.
“The change in the electronic interlocking caused this accident and whoever did it and whatever are the reasons will be known after investigation,” Vaishnaw said in an interview with India's ANI news agency at the scene of the disaster on Sunday.