Hyderabad, Aug 01: Thirty two passengers, including two women, were killed and 40 others were injured when a fire broke out in Kakinada bound Gautami express in Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh early on Friday morning.
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The fire erupted in S-9 coach of the Secunderabad- Kakinada Gautami Express at 0115 hours near Kesamudram station in the district, about 250 kilometres from Hyderabad, South Central Railway spokesman P Krishnaiah said.
The causes of the fire are yet to be ascertained, however, initial report indicates towards a possible short-circuit.
Informing about the accident, Warangal district Superintendent of Police V C Sajjanar said, “Still we are not able to find out what caused the electric short circuit.”
15 bodies have been found in the charred bogies and many more could be trapped inside. Krishnaiah earlier put the death toll at four, he added.
The train was running between Secunderanad and Kakinada town when four coaches of the train were damaged. The mishap occurred between Tallapusalapalli and Mehboobabad stations when the passengers were fast asleep.
Following the incident, several other trains passing through the route were delayed for 2-4 hours.
A major disaster, however, averted due to the alertness of the railway staff. The train staff swung into action as soon as they discovered the fire in S-9 coach and stopped the train. They soon unloaded the passengers. However, of the two women, who were killed, one was pregnant and the other was disabled – possibly the reason why they could not get out of their bogies in time.
State Tribal Welfare Minister D S Redya Naik, who visited the spot to oversee rescue operations, said he saw a large number of skulls bones of charred bodies and death toll could be at least 12.
Meanwhile, the Indian Railways has announced an ex-gratia amount of five lakh for the kin of those who died and one lakh for the injured.