MUMBAI: A fire on an overnight train killed at least nine people on Wednesday with sleeping victims overcome by flames and smoke as the blaze ripped through three carriages, a railway official said.
The blaze, which comes less than a fortnight after 26 people were killed in a similar fire tragedy, happened shortly after the train left Mumbai for the northern city of Dehradun.
“Nine people have died from the fire which spread to three coaches in the night. The fire broke out at about 2:30 am,” said the Western Railway spokesman Sharat Chandrayan.
The blaze, the cause of which is not yet known, started when the train was in Thane district neighboring Mumbai.
“The gateman at a railway station informed the guard inside the train,” Chandrayan said.
The train continued on its journey later in the morning after the three burnt carriages were detached and the fire was extinguished. So far four of the victims have been identified.
Many passengers managed to escape from the blazing and smoke-filled coaches by breaking open the back doors, a survivor, Mehul, told news channel CNN-IBN, but he said others died of suffocation.
“All the windows and doors were sealed shut and the compartments were packed with smoke. Some escaped but those who couldn’t died because they couldn’t breathe,” Mehul told the channel.