Rescue officials said many bodies were charred beyond recognition and would have to undergo DNA tests to determine their identity.
‘But I could not save my wife and maternal uncle.’
Accidents are common on India’s railroad network, one of the world’s largest, with some 18 million passengers daily. Most collisions and fires are blamed on poor maintenance and human error
About 26 people have lost their lives in a fire outbreak on board an Indian train, after its doors were locked overnight, leaving passengers with no room for escape.
The premier added he had told railway and state government authorities ‘to extend all possible help to the victims in rescue and relief operations’.
Survivors were forced to smash windows and jump from the train which was halted one mile from the town of Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh state.
It was also gathered that 2 children are among the dead whose carriage was derailed from the rest of the train, in order to prevent the fire from spreading.
According to officials, many of those trapped in the train, suffocated as a result of smoke inhalation after the blaze that occurred in the early hours of the morning.
‘We woke up to the screams of “fire, fire!”. Everybody was screaming,’ one survivor, identified as Patil, said.
According to a Daily Mail report:
Firefighters forced their way into the carriage to find many of the bodies lying next to the jammed doors and smashed windows.
Another, Sharad, recalled: ‘We were all asleep. All of a sudden, we all woke up to a burning sensation.’
Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh expressed ‘shock and grief at the loss of life in the train accident in Andhra Pradesh’ in a statement on his official Twitter account.
The carriage was destroyed by the blaze, leaving a mass of twisted metal and melted plastic seats in its wake. It is not clear how many people had been in the carriage when it caught fire, with some reports suggesting as many as 67 could have been on board.
The engine driver stopped the train when he spotted flames about an hour away from Nanded, a police officer was quoted on The Hindu newspaper website as saying.
The man, who was able to save himself and three others by smashing through the windowpane of the cabin’s toilet added: ‘There was chaos. We realised the bogie (carriage) was burning.’
‘Rescue teams have so far recovered 26 bodies from the three-tier coach of the train while five of the eight injured have been admitted to hospital for emergency treatment,’ South Western Railway spokesman S. Biswas said.
by Oke Efagene
‘We were suffocating because we couldn’t get the windows open, the windows are really strong,’ one young man, who lost his cousin to the flames, told India’s NDTV news.The tragedy comes a little over a year after another train accident in the same state of Andhra Pradesh killed 32 people. It was not immediately known whether more bodies would be found, police said.The first people to reach the scene were from nearby villages as initial relief efforts were hindered by winter fog, reports indicate.
The coach caught fire in the pre-dawn hours as it travelled from Bangalore to Nanded. The exit doors of Indian trains are customarily locked at night, reports said, while the carriage windows are covered with bars. The toilet windows are the only ones that have no bars, though they are considerably small.
Railways Minister Kharge said the railway board chairman would lead an inquiry into the cause of the accident and a more complete report would be issued at a later date.
Seventy-six people were thought to have been in the carriage when the fire broke out. The blaze reportedly spread to another part of the train but was extinguished.
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