Drivers Were Checking Out Cricket Before Train Crash

India blames distraction for crash that killed 14 in October
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2024 5:50 PM CST
Train Drivers Had Cricket Game on Phone Before Collision
Rescuers and others stand by after a train crash in Andhra Pradesh state, India, on Oct. 29.   (AP Photo)

When a train slammed into another train last fall in India, killing 14 people, its two drivers were monitoring a live cricket match playing on a phone, a government official said. They were among hundreds of millions of people watching India defeat England in a one-day World Cup, per AFP. The nation's railway minister blamed the collision on the pilot and copilot watching the match and said steps are being taken. "Now we are installing systems which can detect any such distraction and make sure that the pilots [train drivers] and the assistant pilots are fully focused on running the train," said Ashwini Vaishnaw.

The crew had missed a signal just before the October crash. Both of them were killed, per the Telegraph. Dozens of people were injured. Vaishnaw stressed a renewed emphasis on safety. "We try to find out the root cause of every incident and we come up with a solution so that it is not repeated," he said. Four employees, including a stationmaster, were fired after a 50-car runaway freight train last month went along for 40 miles and two hours without a driver, per the Hindustan Times. (More train crash stories.)

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