Fire on Tamil Nadu Express; 32 dead, several injured, says official

Hyderabad:NDTV: Coach S-11 of the Chennai-bound Tamil Nadu Express caught fire early this morning, near Nellore in Andhra Pradesh; 32 people have died and several others have been injured.

The injured have been taken to the Nellore civic hospital.

The fire started due to a short circuit near a toilet of the coach at about 4:28 am. The coach that seats 72, was full. The bodies of those who died are bring recovered now; most are charred beyond recognition and identification will be difficult.

Early reports say the doors of the coach were jammed and so many people could not escape as the fire spread. Some were asphyxiated, fell unconscious and were burnt to death. Among those who did was a mother who in death still clutched her little baby.

The burnt coach has been detached from the train.  The coach had 17 people from Delhi, 11 from Bhopal.

In the morning, an alert deputy station master spotted the fire as the train passed train passed Nellore station. The train was then brought to a halt. Passengers were evacuated immediately and no other coach was affected.

A special train will leave for Nellore from Chennai at 9.30 am.

Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has expressed shock and anguish at the fire accident. Mr Reddy will leave for Nellore to take stock of the situation.

Here are the helpline numbers:

Secunderabad: 040-27786723, 27700868; Vijayawada: 0866-2345863, 2345864 and Nellore: 0861-2331477, 2576924; New Delhi: 011-23342954, 23341072, 23341074; Hazrat Nizamuddin: 011-24359748

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