Fire In a Night Train Charred at Least 32 Passengers to Death
A devastating fire engulfed 5 coaches of a night express train causing death to at least 32 passengers, most of who were burned to bones, when report last came in. The Kankinada bound popular train, ‘Goutami Express’ left Secunderabad at 9.15pm on 1st Aug’08 and was 240km from Secunderabad, approaching Mahabubabad, when at about 1.30am, a blaze apparently caused by electrical short circuit, engulfed the train.
The fire is supposed to have started in coach S-9 and immediately spread to S-10 coach and fanned by the speed of the train running at 100kmph, reduced the two coaches to ashes. 13 charred bodies was recovered from Coach S-10 only.
The railway officials were highly apprehensive and feared that death toll may rise substantially as heaps of skeletons, bones and burned fleshes remains to be cleared. They said that DNA tests would have to be carried to establish the identity of the charred bodies.
The death toll could have been far more, but because of a railway police constable Srinivas, who pulled the chain seeing smoke billowing out of coach S-9. As a result the train came to a halt in the middle of a forest, giving passengers time to get off even as the blaze continued unabated.
Relief work was delayed as relief teams from Secunderabad and Vijayawada found it difficult to reach the spot due to blinding rain and darkness.
State Forest Minister Golla Surya Rao, who was in the AC coach of the train said, “ I escaped narrowly in the nick of time when the flames started sweeping the AC coach. I could see people caught in the fire in other coaches and burning alive, but I was helpless to do anything”.
Central Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadaw announced a compensation of Rs.500000/- ($12500) to the families of the dead and Rs.100000/- ($2500) to the seriously injured. State government also announced a compensation of Rs.100000/- to the families of the dead.
The railway minister also ruled out sabotage and said, “The incident is very sad and unfortunate. Till now no proof of sabotage or use of explosives has come to our notice”. The Andhra Chief Minister Y.S Reddy also said the blaze was the result of a short circuit.
Tags: Burning Train , Burning Express Train
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