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Train mows down, kills 5 elephants in east India

Sunday - 12/30/2012, 9:25pm  ET

BHUBANESHWAR, India (AP) - A passenger train has plowed into and killed five elephants of a herd crossing railroad tracks in eastern India.

R.N. Mohapatra, a railroad spokesman, says the train struck the animals early Sunday in the Rambha forest area, about 180 kilometers (110 miles) south of Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Orissa state.

J.D. Sharma, chief conservator of the state's wildlife department, accused the railroad authorities of ignoring his department's warning that trains should slow down because a herd of elephants was moving in the area.

Mohapatra said the warning came too late.

Dozens of elephants have died in India in recent years after being struck while crossing railroad tracks that often run through national parks and forests.

India's wild elephant population was recently estimated at about 26,000.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)