Nellore, Andhra Pradesh: In a tragic accident, at least 32 passengers were burnt to death and some others injured when a fire broke in a coach of the Chennai-bound Tamil Nadu Express near Nellore in Andhra Pradesh in the wee hours on Monday.
The superfast train on its way from New Delhi was moving at a speed of 110 km/per hour near Nellore, 150 kilometres from Chennai, when a fire broke out – possibly due to a short circuit – near the toilet of the S11 coach at 4.30 am.
As most passengers were asleep at that odd hour, they were caught unawares by the approaching danger and were charred to death.
Additional DG Railways V S K Kaumudi said that 32 bodies have been recovered so far from the charred S-11 bogie of the train. The Sleeper Class coach has a capacity of 72 berths; however the exact number of passengers in the ill-fated bogie is yet unclear.
Nellore District Collector B Sridhar said, “The fire spread fast and the passengers could not come out through one of the doors because of the fire. So the other edge of the coach was to be used. Some people could come out while others succumbed to death,” he said, adding that bodies have been charred so it is difficult to identify them.
Additional Joint Collector Laxmikant said the toll could rise up to 35 as some of the bodies are still to be recovered from the charred S-11 compartment. Nellore district police officials said 14 passengers in the bogie were safe.
The injured were shifted to Nellore government hospital, while the rest of the train was sent off to Chennai.
Railway Minister Mukul Roy has announced an exgratia payment of Rs five lakh each to the next of the kin of those killed in the mishap.
Nellore: 0861-2345863, 2576924. Chennai: 044-25330825, New Delhi: 011-23341072.