47 people were killed and 25 others injured in a pre-dawn fire on a passenger train in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on Monday.
A sleeper coach of the Tamil Nadu super fast Express, from the capital city of New Delhi to Chennai, the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu, caught fire as it was passing through Nellore station in Andhra Pradesh at around 4.30 am, reports said.
The Indian Railway authorities put the blame on electrical short circuit.
Railways Minister Mukul Roy has announced a compensation of half a million Indian Rupees for the families of dead, and ordered an inquiry into the accident.
India's PTI news agency quoted Railways Additional Director General V S K Kaumudi as saying that 47 bodies have been recovered from the completely gutted S-11 bogie of the train.
Reports quoting Nellore District Collector B Sridhar said 26 passengers were rescued from the burning train. Some of the bodies have been charred beyond recognition, he said.
Most of the passengers were asleep when the fire broke out in the wee hours, and by the time many of them woke up, it was too late to escape from the smoke-filled compartment, reports quoting witnesses said.
Also, the fire spread fast and the passengers could not come out through one of the doors because of the fire.
Indian Railways Public Relations Officer Anil Saxena said the traffic on the affected route in Vijaywada division of South Central Railway is now normal and has been restored.
Fatal accidents are common on India's state-owned rail network, which have killed more than 1000 people over the past five years, according to railway statistics.
India has one of the largest rail networks in the world, operating 9,000 passenger trains that carry about 18 million passengers every day, across the country.
by RTT Staff Writer
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