Train fire: Most passengers charred to death in sleep

Most of them were fast asleep, while some were awake waiting to reach their destination in another three hours, when a ghastly fire cut short their life's journey in a few seconds.

"It was all over in 15 seconds. The smoke spread fast, giving no time to people to escape," said a passenger, who was lucky to escape.

A majority of 72 passengers travelling in the ill-fated S11 coach of New Delhi-Chennai Tamil Nadu Express were charred beyond recognition after it caught fire near Nellore railway station early Monday.

The passengers, who had no reservation and were sitting or standing near the doors were lucky while others sleeping on berths, especially the upper and middle berths, had no time even to rush towards the doors.

Heart-rending scenes were witnessed in the burning compartment.  Many were believed to have charred to death even before they could realize what was happening. Rescue workers found bodies lying on berths.

A body was seen in a sitting posture, indicating that the man could not even attempt a escape. According to legislator Anam Vivekananda Reddy, it was difficult to make a difference between human flesh and charred remains of the coach.

"Words are not enough to describe the tragedy. I saw bodies of a woman and her child. She was perhaps trying to escape holding her child. They died together," he said.
Cries from the passengers in S11 coach and the adjoining ones broke the early morning silence as flames engulfed the coach in no time, said an eye-witness.

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