Death toll revised in Indian train fire

2012-07-30 18:11
AP

AP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Hyderabad - Thirty-two people were killed on Monday when an overnight fire ripped through a coach of an express train as it carried sleeping passengers to the southern Indian city of Chennai, officials said. It had been reported earlier on Monday that at least 47 people had been killed.

The accident, on a long-distance service from New Delhi, occurred in the early hours of the morning near the town of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh state with an electrical short-circuit seen as the most likely cause.

Images showed dozens of rescuers, survivors and crowds of onlookers milling around as the blackened and twisted bodies of victims, some burnt beyond recognition, were lifted out and laid in rows alongside the railway line.

Family members of the victims wailed and screamed, while other dazed survivors sat around quietly with their belongings.

"I woke up when people were rushing into our compartment, I was in S-10 which was attached to the S-11 coach that caught fire," passenger Shantanu, who gave only one name, told the NDTV news channel.

"There was smoke all around. We tried to open the emergency window, people jumped out of it."

Short circuit

The central government press office said that 32 people had lost their lives and 25 had been injured, with $9 000 offered to the families of the deceased.

Nellore chief district official B Sreedhar said preliminary investigations suggested a short circuit near a toilet had triggered the blaze, while Railway Minister Mukul Roy said an investigation was underway.

"Nothing can be excluded and nothing can be said without an investigation," Roy told reporters shortly before rescue officials wrapped up their nearly 12-hour search for bodies.

The train was travelling at 110km/h when it passed through Nellore station, where staff noticed the fire and informed the railway authorities.

The burning carriage was quickly detached from the rest of the train which prevented the fire from spreading.

India's accident-prone rail network is still the main form of long-distance travel in the huge country despite fierce competition from private airlines.

While new shiny airport infrastructure is springing up, the Indian railways - a much-romanticised legacy of British colonial rule - often appear stuck in a time-warp.

Ticket price objections

There were two fatal accidents this May alone, including a collision that killed 25 people near the southern city of Bangalore. Four passengers also died after a train derailed in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent his condolences over the deaths and has asked the national railways ministry to co-ordinate the relief effort, his office said.

In March, the then railway minister Dinesh Trivedi unveiled a draft budget for 2012-13 that included a major safety upgrade to be financed by across-the-board fare hikes.

But he was forced to withdraw it and resign after a rebellion from his own populist party, the Trinamool Congress, which objected to increasing ticket prices for the poorest travellers.

The National Crime Records Bureau, which gathers the causes of fatalities across India, says 25 705 people in total died on the railways in 2009.

The data is not broken down, but a vast majority of these deaths are people falling from the open doors of carriages or being hit on the tracks, which are mostly unsecured.

India's worst rail accident was in 1981 when a train plunged into a river in the eastern state of Bihar, killing an estimated 800 people.

Read more on:    india
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.