. A passenger train in eastern India crashed into a herd of elephants on late Wednesday, killing 5 and seriously injuring 10 others.
Hiten Burman, forestry minister in West Bengal, explained that the train was travelling at 80 km/hour through the Chapramari Forest when it struck the herd of 40 elephants that was crossing the tracks.
“The herd scattered, but returned to the railway tracks and stood there for quite some time before they were driven away by forest guards and railroad workers who rushed to the spot after the accident,” Burman told The Associated Press.
“It is an irony that elephants are being killed by speeding trains in north Bengal on regular intervals, even though it has been declared as the heritage animal in India and an elephant cub is the mascot of Indian Railways,” said Animesh Basu, coordinator of the Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation.
Activists have been demanding new laws to reduce train speeds while inside the elephant corridor in Jalpaiguri district for years, but to no answer. According to Basu, at least 50 elephants have been killed in train accidents since 2004 in West Bengal.