News24

India train fire kills 7

2011-11-22 13:16

Patna - Seven people, including one Australian woman, died when a fire swept through an overnight train in eastern India early on Tuesday, officials said.

Four female researchers from Australia were travelling to the Buddhist holy city of Bodh Gaya. One died in the blaze and the three others were being treated for burns in hospital, said rail divisional manager Sudhir Kumar.

"Seven persons were charred to death and more than 12 injured after the fire broke out in an air-conditioned coach and then spread to another coach," Kumar said, adding that one Australian survivor was in a critical condition.

The train was travelling from Kolkata to the northern town of Dehradun when it caught fire in the state of Jharkhand.

Police said the cause of the blaze, in which one 4-year-old girl also died, was not known.

Accidents are frequent on the state-owned Indian railways, still the main form of long-distance travel despite fierce competition from private airlines.

The network operates 9 000 passenger trains carrying some 18.5 million passengers every day.