Saturday, December 28, 2013

Nanded-Bangalore Express catches fire in Andhra Pradesh, 26 charred to death

 In a tragic incident, a coach of Nanded-Bangalore Express caught fire here early Saturday.

At least 26 passengers, including 12 women and two children, were burnt to death when an air-conditioned coach of the Bangalore-Nanded Express caught fire near Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh, officials said.

"Of the 65 passengers in the AC-3-tier B-1 coach, 39 escaped the blaze with injuries and 15 of them were admitted to hospitals at Anantapur and Puttaparthi for emergency treatment," South Western Railway spokesman S Biswas told a news agency.

The ill-fated train left Bangalore at 10:45 pm on Friday for an overnight journey to Nanded in Maharashtra, about 1,040 km away.

Though the exact cause of the fire is not known, railway officials suspect a short circuit in the AC coach could have triggered the inferno.

Railway Board chairman Arunendra Kumar said prima facie there could be two reasons - one is short circuit and the other presence of inflammable material.

"Preliminary reports indicate that the cause of the fire was electrical short-circuit near the Air-Conditioning Unit," Andhra Director General of Police B Prasada Rao said.

The blaze spread rapidly in the early hours (around 3 am) when the train was travelling towards Dharmavaram from Kothacheruvu station after leaving Prashanti Nilayam station at Puttaparthi pilgrim town, about 150 km from Bangalore.

"A couple of passengers who jumped out of the burning coach reported seeing fire in the electrical unit at one end of the coach and flames spreading across rapidly as the coach has sealed windows and hydraulic air-tight doors on either side," a railway engineer, supervising the rescue and relief operations, told a news agency from the spot.

The gutted coach was carrying passengers to Nanded and other destinations en-route. The train passes through north Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Marathwada region of eastern Maharashtra.

The blazing coach was detached from the vestibule train soon after passengers noticed flames leaping out of it and the train was suddenly stopped. Some of the survivors jumped out of the burning coach after breaking window panes of its toilet.

Read more detail here