Death toll rises to 47 in Indian train fire

A fire engulfed a passenger car on a moving train in southern India on Monday, killing at least 47 people, officials said.

Most of the passengers were asleep when the fire broke out at about 4 a.m. on the overnight train from New Delhi to the southeastern city of Chennai, said local official B. Sridhar

A train station worker noticed the burning coach on the train as it passed through the town of Nellore, nearly 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh state, Sridhar said.

Once the alarm was raised, the train was stopped and the passenger car detached from the rest of the train to prevent the blaze from spreading. Passengers were evacuated once the train was halted.

"Since the fire had engulfed one door of the coach, people had to rush to the other end of the coach to exit," Sridhar told The Associated Press by telephone, speaking from the accident site.

He said the fire may have been caused by an electrical short circuit in the coach.

The blaze killed 47 people, said Anil Kumar, regional railway manager

At least 28 other passengers were hospitalized with burns, Sridhar said, adding that at least two of the injured were in critical condition.

Here are the helpline numbers:

Secunderabad: 040-27786723, 27700868; Vijayawada: 0866-2345863, 2345864 and Nellore: 0861-2331477, 2576924

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