Hyderabad: At least 26 people, including a two-year-old child, have died after a fire broke out in an air conditioned bogie of the Nanded Express in Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh in the wee hours today.
Nine others have been injured; they've been shifted to the Dharmavaram Hospital in the district. (See Pictures)
The fire broke out in the B1 AC coach of the train numbered 16594 which was headed to Nanded from Bangalore. There were at least 64 passengers in the bogie.
The cause of the fire is not yet known. A forensic team from Hyderabad has left for the spot to ascertain the cause of the accident and to collect DNA samples of the deceased.
The train had left Bangalore at 10:45 pm yesterday. The fire broke out when the train was near the Prasanthi Nilayam ashram in Anantapuram district around 3 am.
"Most of those who died suffocated in the coaches that were filled with thick black smoke," said Railways spokesperson CS Gupta.
A few people reportedly jumped out of the train on noticing the fire.
"It happened at 3:15 am. Someone in the corner seat said there was fire. We hurriedly de-boarded all the passengers," said a person who was on-board the train.
Officials say the blaze has been completely doused but fog and smoke are hampering rescue work. The cause of the fire has still not been determined.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, expressing shock and grief, has directed the Railways and State government authorities to extend all possible help to the victims in rescue and relief operations.
A compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the dead and Rs 50,000 for the injured has been announced by Railways Minister M Mallikarjun Kharge.
Bangalore: 08022354108, 08022259271, 08022156554, 08022156553