New Delhi: A fire broke out in a train coach in Anantpur district of India's southern Andhra Pradesh state in the wee hours of morning of Saturday (December 28), killing at least 23 people and injuring nine others.
The 'Nanded Express' train was on its way to Nanded district from southern Bangalore city, when a three-tier air-conditioned coach caught fire at around 3:30 am (IST).
"One three-tier ac coach caught fire around 3.30 am. The news was reported around 3.40 and on the first information report, the ambulance left from ambulance left from Dharmavaram and reached the site around 4.40 hours. The fire has now been brought under control but there are causalities and as we now understand after the fire has been controlled, the authorities have gone inside the coach. They have been able to find 23 bodies," said Arunendra Kumar, Chairman of the Railway Board.
The injured have been rushed to the district hospital.
The train driver and staff took immediate steps to segregate the coach and prevented the fire from spreading.
The provincial government announced aid of rupees five hundred thousand for the family of deceased, rupees one hundred thousand to victims with major injuries and rupees 50,000 to the people with minor injuries.
There were 72 passengers onboard in the coach when fire broke out. The rescue operations are underway.
"The fire broke out at 3.15 am. Two, three people sitting on the corner seats got out of the train and saw flames emerging from one of the coaches. They alerted everyone and we got down from the train," said a passenger, Ravikumar.
The cause of fire is still unknown and is being investigated.
Forensic experts have been called from Hyderabad and Bangalore cities to survey the incident.