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47 killed, 25 injured in rail mishap in southern India

(Xinhua)

16:47, July 30, 2012

NEW DELHI, July 30 (Xinhua) -- At least 47 people have been charred to death and 25 others sustained burn injuries in a major fire that broke out in one of the coaches of an express train in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in the early hours of Monday, a senior police official said.

"Some 25 charred bodies have been recovered from the coach of the Chennai Express which caught fire at 5.30 a.m. local time near Nellore station in the state enroute to the neighboring southern state of Tamil Nadu from the national capital. The other 25 victims have succumbed to their injuries in the hospital," he said, on condition of anonymity.

The remaining 25 injured are recovering in the hospital, the official said.

Local TV channels reported that most of the passengers were asleep when the fire broke out.

Senior railway and state administration officials have rushed to the spot and a probe has been ordered into the incident. " Preliminary inquiry suggests that an electrical short circuit is the most likely cause of the inferno," the official said.

Indian Railways Minister Mukul Roy has announced a compensation of one lakh rupees (2,000 U.S. dollars) each to the familes of those killed in the mishap.

Indian Railways is one of the largest train networks in the world. India's railway operates 9,000 passenger trains and carries some 18 million passengers every day, connecting every corner of the country.

But, its safety record is awful, with 1,220 people getting killed over the past five years.

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