ANANTAPUR, December 28: At least 23 people, including two children, were reported dead by railway authorities following a fire that engulfed an air conditioned coach of the Bangalore-Nanded express near Kothacheruvu railway station in the Anantapur district early on Saturday.
Speaking to The Hindu, Dharmavaram Railway Police Inspector Sai Prasad said that the Bangalore-Nanded Express (Train No. 16594), which was scheduled to reach Anantapur station at around 4.20 a.m. was stopped by the driver near Kothacheruvu railway station after he observed flames coming out of the B1 air-conditioned coach.
“The fire is being doused. The bodies will be brought out once the smoke subsides a little. We are expecting at least 23 casualties, although the exact figure can be given only after the rescue operation is over”, Mr. Prasad, who was overseeing the rescue work, said.
Railway authorities say that the train might have caught flames around 3.20 a.m. since the driver stopped the train soon after.
While the B1 three-tier air-conditioned coach can usually accommodate around 64 passengers, some coaches can even accommodate 72 persons. However, the exact information regarding the capacity of the coach and the number of people who had boarded the train is yet to be known.
The toll could be substantially higher since several of the injured are lying in a critical condition at a hospital nearby with burn injuries.
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