NEW DELHI: A fire on a train killed at least 23 people on Saturday in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, local television networks reported.
The overnight express train was travelling from the southern city of Bangalore to Nanded when the fire broke out in an air-conditioned carriage around 3:00 am, the NDTV and CNN-IBN networks said.
The local police chief confirmed to AFP that there had been fatalities and that rescue operations were under way but would not give a number of the dead. Fifty-four people would have been travelling in the carriage which had been completely gutted, the reports said. Around a dozen other passengers had been injured while some jumped off the train to escape the blaze.
In a statement on his official Twitter account, Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh expressed his “shock and grief at the loss of life in the train accident in Andhra Pradesh”. “PM directs railway and state government authorities to extend all possible help to the victims in rescue and relief operations,” the statement added.
The railways ministry has set up a special hotline for families to see if relatives have been caught up in the tragedy and an initial compensation package has been unveiled.