/ 1 August 2008

More than 30 dead in burning train in India

At least 32 people were killed after a train caught fire in southern India early on Friday, a government statement said.

Eight others were injured in the accident and have been taken to a local hospital for treatment, the statement by the Federal Railway Ministry said.

The fire broke out in a sleeper coach of the train and spread to four other coaches, the statement said, but gave no reason for the start of the blaze.

Local police official VC Sajjanar had said earlier that the Gautami Express caught fire early on Friday morning while it was roughly 200km north of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh state.

Sajjanar said the fire appeared to have been caused by a short-circuit in the train’s wiring.

He said the passengers pulled a chain to stop the train as soon as the fire erupted, and some travellers jumped out of the coaches.

Accidents are frequent on India’s rail network, which is one of the world’s largest. Most of the accidents are blamed on poor maintenance. — Sapa-AP