Nine killed in Indian train coach fire

Firefighters try to extinguish a fire which broke out in a train coach parked at the Madurai railway yard, in Madurai on 26 August, 2023

At least nine people were killed Saturday after a train coach parked in southern India caught fire when a passenger tried to make tea, officials said.

The coach, which had been detached from a train, was stationed at the Madurai railway yard in the southern state of Tamil Nadu when the fire broke out before dawn.

"It was a single, stationary coach booked by a private tourist operator. Somebody tried to make tea and it caused the fire," Madurai district spokesman Sali Thalapathi told AFP.

"Nine people have died, three of them are women. Nine others are injured but their injuries are not life-threatening."

None of the bodies had been identified so far, he added.

Footage showed huge flames leaping out of the windows of the train carriage.

Some passengers managed to escape the inferno in time.

Local media reports said the passengers had illegally smuggled aboard a gas cylinder which exploded when they tried to use it.

India has one of the world's largest rail networks and has seen several disasters over the years, the worst in 1981 when a train derailed while crossing a bridge in Bihar state and plunged into a river below, killing 800 people.

In June, a triple-train collision killed nearly 300 people in Odisha state.