Two passenger trains jumped off slippery tracks on a bridge near a rain-swollen river in central India, killing at least 24 people as two coaches hurled through mud and rested on one side at an embankment, officials said Wednesday.

The Kamayani Express was on its way to Mumbai when it derailed late Tuesday night near the town of Harda in Madhya Pradesh state, while the Janata Express was traveling in the opposite direction when it slid off the tracks soon after.

The trains were crossing a small bridge near the Machak River, about 950 kilometers (590 miles) south of New Delhi. Another train had passed the same culvert 10 minutes before the first derailment without any problem, but then a flash flood caused part of the track to sink into the rain-soaked ground, said A.K. Mittal, a senior railway officer.

Six coaches from the Kamayani Express and the engine and four coaches from the Janata Express derailed just before midnight. Although rescue workers soon reached the site, they were slowed by darkness.

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