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India train fire kills seven in Jharkhand

  • 11-22-2011

Seven people have been killed and at least 12 injured in a fire on a passenger train travelling in the Indian state of Jharkhand, police say.

Two coaches of the Doon Express train travelling to Dehradoon from Howrah caught fire early on Monday. The cause of the fire is still not clear.

The incident happened when the train was passing through Giridih district.

Railway officials said rescue teams had evacuated most of the passengers. The injured include three Russians.

Heater defect?

Seven bodies have been recovered from the two charred coaches, a senior police official told the BBC's Salman Ravi. The dead include a four-year-old girl.

TV pictures showed two air-conditioned coaches of the train in flames.

One passenger told reporters that the fire started after "somebody switched off the air-conditioning and switched on the heater".

Railway officials said rescue teams had rushed to the site, separated the burning coaches from the rest of the train, and had managed to evacuate most of the passengers.

But reporters at the site told the BBC it took more than two hours for the rescue teams to reach the train. Most passengers said they had escaped the fire on their own.

Accidents are common on the state-owned Indian railways, an immense network connecting every corner of the country.

It operates 9,000 passenger trains and carries some 18 million passengers every day.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2011 BBC

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