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Deadly fire breaks out on train in southern India, at least 26 dead

A fire on an express train in southern India has claimed at least 26 lives, officials say. Several people were also injured in the fire, thought to have possibly been caused by an electrical short circuit.

Watch video 00:28

Fire engulfs train in India

The fire broke out in the early morning on Saturday while many of the passengers in the affected carriage were sleeping.

Television reports said that some passengers managed to jump from the train to safety, but that at least 26 others suffocated in the smoke from the fire. Two children were among the dead.

A railway spokesman said 67 passengers were in the carriage when the fire started.

The carriage caught fire about two kilometers (one mile) from the small town of Puttaparthi in the state of Andhra Pradesh, some 300 kilometers (186 miles) south of the state capital of Hyderabad. The train was traveling from Bangalore to Nanded in the western state of Maharashtra.

Indian Prime Minister Manhohan Singh expressed his "shock and grief at the loss of life in the train accident in Andhra Pradesh" in a statement on his official Twitter account.

Accidents are common on India's railroad network, which is used by more than 18.5 million people every day. Most are blamed on poor maintenance and human error.

In July last year,

at least 32 people were killed in the same state of Andhra Pradesh

when an express train traveling from New Dehli to Chennai caught fire near the city of Nellore.

tj/jlw (AFP, AP, dpa)

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