Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published December 28, 2013 at 2:38 PM | Page modified December 28, 2013 at 5:36 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Panicked train passengers broke windows to escape fire

As the inferno and thick black smoke raced through the car on the Bangalore-Nanded Express early Saturday, panicked passengers broke the windows and many saved themselves by jumping from the train.


The Associated Press

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
No comments have been posted to this article.
Start the conversation >

advertising

KOTHACHERUVU, India — Railway officials said Saturday that many of the people who died in an express train fire in southern India became trapped and suffocated after the doors failed to open in one car.

As the inferno and thick black smoke raced through the car on the Bangalore-Nanded Express early Saturday, panicked passengers broke the windows and many saved themselves by jumping from the train.

At least 26 of the 67 passengers in the carriage when the fire began died, said railways spokesman C.S. Gupta. The train was about 1 mile from the town of Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh state when the blaze erupted, Gupta added.

The train was brought to a halt and the burning coach was delinked from the rest of the cars to prevent the fire from spreading, Gupta said.

The fire spread to a second coach, but the blaze was put out before it caused much damage, Gupta said.

Firefighters retrieved at least 26 bodies, including two children, said a railway official at the site of the fire. More than a dozen people were brought to hospitals with injuries incurred when they jumped from the train, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Firefighters had to force the doors open and make their way through the smoke-filled coach to reach the dead, the official said.

Many bodies were found near the jammed doors, he said.

Medical teams carried out autopsies to identify the bodies, many of which were charred beyond recognition.

The train was traveling from Bangalore to Nanded in the western state of Maharashtra.

Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge said preliminary reports indicated the fire was caused by an electrical short-circuit in the air-conditioning unit. An investigation was under way.

Accidents are common on India’s railroad network, one of the world’s largest, with some 18 million passengers daily, but fares are kept so low to accommodate the poor that the government has been unable to invest in repairs. Many trains are in terrible disrepair, and many stations are decrepit. Most collisions and fires are blamed on poor maintenance and human error.

An effort last year by a reformist railway chief to raise fares to pay for needed repairs was reversed immediately, and the official resigned after an outcry followed his announcement.

Material from The New York Times is included in this report.



News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Want free career advice? And an iPad Mini?

Want free career advice? And an iPad Mini?

Tell us about your goals and challenges and be considered for a future NWjobs career-makeover story, as well as a chance to win an iPad Mini!

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►