At least 27 have died and many more are injured after two trains veered off a flooded bridge in central India, local authorities said.

The two trains were traveling just minutes apart on the same bridge when both derailed off the track in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, railway officials say.

The two crowded trains had as many as 1,600 people on board, divisional railway manager Alok Kumar told CNN.

Ten compartments from the trains, which had 23 and 24 compartments respectively, derailed. Kumar added that there were 12 passenger fatalities, while the rest of the bodies recovered from the scene are believed to be local residents. The number of casualties is expected to mount.

The accidents took place close to midnight, with the darkness and heavy rain hampering the rescue operation that is still underway, Indian Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to express his concern about the latest accidents, adding that the government was monitoring the situation closely.