Hyderabad, Dec 28 (INN): As many as 23 passengers were killed and 13 others injured in a major fire accident in Nanded-Bangalore express train near Kothacheru railway station in Anantapur district in the early hours of Saturday.
According to police, the fire accident in B1 Coach (3 Tier AC) of Bengalore – Nanded Express Train No 16594 proceeding from Bangalore to Nanded at a distrance of two kilometres from Kothacheruvu Railway Station in Anantapur district. The passengers were said to be deep in sleep and those who woke up brought the train to halt before jumping out. The flames also spread to next compartment.
The deceased include two children. As many as 64 passengers were travelling in the coach. The injured have been admitted in government hospitals in Penugonda and Dharmavaram. “Further casualty figures are expected as rescue operations are still continuing,” police said.
The district administration has also alerted medical staff in government hospitals in Dharmavaram and Puttaparthi towns. Police have taken up massive relief and rescue operations. Fire service personnel from nearby fire stations were rushed to the spot and the flames were extinguished.
Since some of the bodies are charred beyond recognition, DNA testing will be done to identify the deceased. Forensic teams from Hyderabad have been rushed to incident site to collect evidence and also DNA samples.
The bodies of the deceased are being sent to Victoria Hospital Mortuary in Bangalore.
Preliminary reports indicate that the cause of the fire was electrical short circuit near the Air Conditioning Unit.
The Railway authorities have started the following helpline numbers to give information about the incident: Hyderabad – 040-23310680 and Bangalore – 080-22354108, 22259271.