New Delhi, India — More than 50 passengers, including a bride and a groom, were killed Saturday in a predawn fire aboard a packed train carrying nearly two dozen wedding guests, the United News of India reported.
The news agency quoted the bride’s family as saying that 20 of 23 members of the wedding party aboard the train in central India were burned to death.
The bride and _ the bridegroom were identified as Kuntal Devi, 22, and Rajan Kanojjia, 31.
Another newly married couple, Pappu Chouhan, 24, and his wife, Rekha, 21, also were killed, UNI said.
Government television reported 12 passengers were hospitalized in serious condition.
Fanned by strong winds, the blaze swept through two cars of the car Chakradhar Nagpur passenger train while passengers were asleep, according to railway ministry officials, UNI said several passengers jumped from windows and it was not known if they survived.
Railway authorities said 34 bodies, some charred beyond recognition, were found in the burned cars. But UNI quoted local police as saying that remains of additional victims were recovered.
Cause of the fire near Musra in Madhya Pradesh state, 500 miles southeast of New Delhi, was not clear. The federal government ordered India’s railway safety commissioner to investigate.
UNI quoted one unidentified passenger as saying the locomotive engineer could not be alerted because the alarm chain did not work, and that the fire raged for about 30 minutes before the engineer noted the smoke and stopped the train.
It was the second disaster in five months in the same division of the railway.
At leastz65 people were killed when three cars of a passenger train derailed and fell into a flooded stream last September in Madhya Pradesh.
Article extracted from this publication >> March 1, 1985