More than two dozen passengers were charred to death in a major fire accident in Nanded-Bangalore express train near Kothacheru railway station in Anantapur district on Saturday morning.
The fire occurred in D1 airconditioned compartment and the impact of the fire was felt more on passengers occupying seats from 62 to 72.
There were 57 passengers in the train when flames suddenly engulfed the compartment. Many passengers pulled the safety chain and jumped off the train.
Local authorities said 26 passengers died in the mishap.
The injured have been admitted to government hospitals in Penugonda and Dharmavaram.
The district administration has also alerted medical staff in government hospitals in Dharmavaram and Puttaparthi towns. The railways and state government have taken up massive relief and rescue operations. Fire service personnel from nearby fire stations rushed to the spot and brought the flames under control. The railways had recovered eight bodies till 8am.
The bodies are charred beyond recognition. Many passengers became just lumps of charred flesh and bones. The railways are identifying the passengers based on the reservation chart. As some of the bodies are charred beyond recognition, a DNA test may be conducted to establish the identity.
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 exact cause of the mishap is not clear. It is suspected that short circuit in the AC compartment led to the mishap. Senior government and railway officials rushed to the spot.
Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy expressed shock over the accident and directed that officials shift the injured to corporate hospitals for better treatment.
The fire accident brought to the fore the lack of fire fighting measures including automatic water jets in Indian trains.