Helicopters rescue passengers on stranded Indian train

Photo: AFP

Indian navy helicopters and emergency service boats came to the rescue of about 700 people stuck on a train caught in floods near Mumbai on Saturday.

The Mahalaxmi Express left Mumbai late Friday for Kolhapur but got only 60 kilometres (37 miles) before it became stranded as torrential rain flooded the tracks.

Authorities called in the Indian navy and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to use helicopters and boats. An NDRF spokesman said 500 people had been rescued in about two hours.

The disaster response service also set up a camp near the stranded train.

An Indian Railways spokesperson told the Press Trest of India news agency that a "special relief train" would be laid on to take the passengers to their destinations.

Heavy monsoon rains battered Mumbai forcing the cancellation of 11 flights from the financial capital's international airport on Saturday while nine incoming flights were diverted to other airports.

More than 250 people have died in flooding across India in the past two weeks, with Assam and Bihar states the worst hit.

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