Train fire in India kills 32; death toll may rise

CNN Wire Service

NEW DELHI — A fire swept through a train passenger car in southern India on Monday, killing at least 32 people, authorities said.

An additional 25 passengers were admitted to hospitals with burns, the Ministry of Railways said in a statement on its website.

Emergency crews removed the dead and injured from the gutted car of the New Delhi-Chennai Tamilnadu Express at Nellore Station, which is in Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh State, according to officials.

An electrical short-circuit is believed to have caused the fire, said B. Sreedhar, the district’s top administrator. But a later posting from the Ministry of Railways said the cause “is yet to be ascertained.”

Arrangements were made for a special train to carry relatives of affected passengers from Chennai to Nellore, the ministry said.

India’s vast rail network, used by hundreds of thousands of passengers daily, has had issues with its safety record.

The country reported 93 train crashes during 2010 and 2011, official figures show. Authorities say that more than 40% of train accidents happen at unguarded railway crossings.