Giridih: Seven passengers, including two children, were charred to death and four Australians injured when two coaches of the Howrah-Dehradun Express caught fire in Jharkhand's Giridih district in the wee hours on Tuesday.
    
The fire, which broke out at around 3 AM in B-1 AC coach and then spread to B-2 AC coach, was spotted between Gomo and Nimiaghat Railway stations, Railway Protection Force
Divisional Commandant Sashi Kumar said.
    
"Seven persons, including two children, were charred to death after the fire broke out in an AC coach and then spread to another AC coach," he said.
    
Kumar said four Australian women travelling in the coach received minor injuries and have been admitted to the Railway Divisional Hospital in Dhanbad.
    
The four foreign research scholars were travelling to Bodh Gaya. Out of the four, two suffered from excessive smoke inhalation and other two received minor injuries, Chief Matron of the hospital M Majumdar said.
    
Three of the deceased have been identified as 4-year-old Archita Thakur, 8-year-old Tubi Ali Akhtar and 25-year-old Dr Anumita Singh, DRM Sudhir Kumar said.
    
Both the coaches have been detached from the train, which had left Howrah station last night. While one portion has been moved towards Gomo, the other has been moved to Parasnath.
    
Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi condoled the loss of lives in the fire mishap and announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh to the next of kin of those killed.
    
All other passengers in the affected B-1 and B-2 AC coaches will get Rs 25000 as immediate financial assistance for the inconvenience caused due to the fire, he said.
    
There were a total of 128 passengers in the two coaches. Commissioner Railway safety, eastern circle, has been asked to conduct the inquiry into the accident and submit the report at the earliest.

Senior Divisional Commercial Manager (Dhanbad Division), Dayanand said the railway inspection team searched the two AC bogies and found seven bodies.
     
"We are examining the coaches to determine the cause of the fire. We are also speaking to train passengers," he said.
    
Railway have set up a helpline for relatives of the passengers. The helpline numbers are; 033-26413660, 033-26402243 and 032-62220518.
    
Train operations on the route have been restored around 7:50 AM, officials said.

Agencies