18 train fire victims remain unidentified

July 31st, 2012 - 1:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, July 31 (IANS) Eighteen of the 32 people who died in the Tamil Nadu Express fire in Andhra Pradesh Monday are yet to be unidentified even as a forensic team Tuesday inspected the gutted coach.

Relatives of missing passengers, who are believed to have perished in the disaster, are reaching Nellore, where the tragedy struck, for identification.

Railway officials said only 14 of the 32 dead have been identified.

At least 32 people were killed and 27 were injured when a coach of the New Delhi-Chennai super fast express train caught fire early Monday near Nellore railway station.

The bodies of the victims were shifted from Nellore railway station to Government Hospital in the town, about 450 km from here.

Railway officials said the bodies would be kept at the hospital till Tuesday evening to enable the relatives to identify them. The bodies will later be shifted to Perambur railway hospital in Tamil Nadu. All arrangements were made to preserve the bodies at the railway hospital.

Since majority of the bodies were charred beyond recognition, the identification has become a tough task. The authorities were also preparing for DNA test on the bodies to ascertain the claims of their relatives before handing over the remains.

The relatives are facing the mental trauma of identifying the skeletal remains bundled in white cloth. Some of them were agitated over the failure of railway authorities to at least provide them information.

Of the 14 bodies identified so far, six were from Andhra Pradesh, five from Chennai and three from Amritsar.

Meanwhile, a team of forensic experts visited Nellore railway station and inspected the gutted S11 coach as part of the investigations. The team would collect the samples and submit their finding to railway officials, conducting the probe.

The forensic report will be crucial in view of the claims by some survivors and witnesses that they heard explosions before flames engulfed the coach. There are also reports of traces of kerosene found in the ill-fated coach. They have expressed doubt over short circuit being the cause of fire.

Railway Minister Mukul Rai, who visited Nellore Monday night, said the commissioner, railway safety, would probe the tragedy from all angles.

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