Fire on Train in India Kills at Least 26

A fire engulfed two coaches of an express train in southern India on Saturday, killing at least 26 passengers, many of whom became trapped and suffocated after the doors failed to open, officials said, reports The Associated Press.

As the inferno and thick black smoke raced through the two cars at about 3:45 a.m., panicked passengers broke the windows and many saved themselves by jumping from the train.

Sixty-seven passengers were in the two cars when the fire broke out about 2 kilometers (1 mile) from the small town of Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh state, said a spokesman for the railways, C.S. Gupta.

The train was brought to a halt and the two coaches were delinked from the rest of the cars to prevent the fire from spreading, Gupta said.

Firefighters put out the fire and retrieved at least 26 bodies, including two children, said a railway official at the site of the fire. More than a dozen people were brought to hospitals with injuries sustained when they jumped from the coaches, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Firefighters had to force the doors open and make their way through the smoke-filled coaches to reach the dead, the official said.

Many bodies were found near the jammed doors, he said.

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