AP techies among the dead

All techies on the ill-fated S-11 compartment of the Delhi-Chennai Tamil Nadu Express who were charred to death in a flash fire in the weehours of Monday along with other passengers had one thing in common- all of them were from Andhra Pradesh and working with software companies in Chennai.

Ashwini, 24, Shalini, 23, Pallavi, 26, and Avinash, 32, were techies returning after a long weekend celebration of  Varamahalakshmi festival with their friends and families.

Shalini and Avinash were among the seven passengers from Warangal while Ashwini and Pallavi boarded the Train No - 12622 at Vijayawada along with 26 others. “We had fixed his wedding for October during the engagement ceremony on Saturday last,” said Avinash’s uncle K Venkat Rao who was at Warangal Railway station after hearing about the tragic incident. He had seen off his nephew late Sunday night at the same station.

The case of Shalini is even more tragic. A TCS - Chennai employee and a resident of Hyderabad, Shalini had gone to Karimnagar to attend a friend’s engagement function and took the fateful TN Express from Warangal. Her friend Karuna, 24, who got engaged was all in tears. “Shalini had promised to attend my wedding in October,” said a misty-eyed Karuna who had seen her friend off at Warangal.

Amidst the tragedy, Harsha, a 18 month toddler who was with some relatives in S-10 survived. While his father (Venkat Rao) and brother died, the infant’s mother suffered serious injuries and is fighting for life in a Nellore hospital. “We will take the kid home to his grand parents,” said an uncle and aunt of the child at Nellore railway station.

Many were believed to have been charred to death in no time. Rescue workers found bodies lying on berths, some sitting near the windows trying to open or crying for help. Some bodies were found in the corridor and a few other near the heavy doors of the compartment. A body was seen in a sitting posture, indicating that the fire took all unawares. Burnt bodies strewed the compartment. But for the foul smell of burning flesh, anyone could easily pass them as burnt out seats and rexene covers.

The South Central Railway authorities have so far recovered 36 bodies and identified only 20 of them with the help of forensic experts. So far, among the identified 20 were men, 6 women and two children. Other bodies were being removed from the bogie after forensic tests. “There are only 26 survivors leaving nothing to guess that the rest of 47 are on list of dead, but we will declare them (dead) only after the recovery of bodies,” said a railway official .

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