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23 killed, nine injured in Andhra train mishap

Hyderabad, Dec.28 (ANI): At least 23 people were killed and nine others injured after a fire broke out in an air conditioned bogie of the Nanded-Bangalore Express in Andhra Pradesh’s Anantapur District early on Saturday morning.

The injured have reportedly been admitted to the Dharmavaram Hospital in the district.

Media reports said the fire broke out in the second air conditioned bogie of the train number 16594 that was going from Bangalore to Nanded. There were at least 64 passengers in the bogie.

“Most of those who died suffocated in the coaches that were filled with thick black smoke,” Railways spokesperson C.S. Gupta was quoted, as saying.

The train had left Bangalore at 10:45 p.m. on Friday night. The fire broke out when the train was near the Prasanthi Nilayam ashram in Anantapur District around 3 a.m.

A few people reportedly jumped out of the train on noticing the fire.

The cause of the fire has still not been determined. The blaze has been doused, but fog and smoke are hampering rescue efforts, said officials.

A shocked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed the Railways and the Andhra Pradesh Government to extend all possible help to the victims.

A compensation of Rs. 5 lakh for the dead and Rs. 50,000 for the injured has been announced by Railways Minister M Mallikarjun Kharge. (ANI)