Horrific train fire mishap in TN's Madurai: How it happened? Here's what we know so far!

In what has become one of the deadliest train mishaps this year, at least ten people have died and dozens have been injured after a private party coach had gone up in flames in Madurai. The incident had happened during the wee hours of Saturday - August 26 and the probe into the mishap has revealed that explosion of a cooking gas, that was illegally carried by the passengers, was a reason behind the accident and deaths. 

Carrying a gas cylinder is banned in train and it has been reported that the passengers, who reserved a private coach, had smuggled it illegally. The private party coach was attached to the Punalur- Madurai Express and the incident had happened when the train was halted in Madurai. It has been reported that the private coach caught fire at around 5.15 am and it was doused two hours later. 

Several rescue teams have rushed to the spot and rescued the dead bodies and the people who got trapped in the mishap. The fire was spotted in a private party coach between platforms 5 and 6 at Madurai junction and a press release by the Southern Railway had said that passengers had smuggled cooking gas onto the train and were cooking when the cylinder suddenly exploded. 

The Southern Railway has also confirmed that the fire was mitigated and didn't spread to other coaches. The train had arrived at the station at around 3.47 am and the private coach was detached from the train and kept at Madurai Stabling line. In its press release, the Southern Railway further said, "The party coaches had started their journey from Lucknow on August 17 and were scheduled to return to Chennai on Sunday by the Kollam to Chennai Ananthapuri express. They were scheduled to return to Lucknow from Chennai." 

"Any individual can book a party coach using the IRCTC portal. They are not allowed to carry any inflammable material like gas cylinders. The coach is to be used only for transportation purposes", the Southern Railway added. The probe was launched into the incident and it had revealed that the passengers, who had carried the cylinder, were making tea around 5.15 am when it got exploded. 

These people were from Lucknow and came for their pilgrimage tour. Around 64 passengers started their pilgrimage to Tamil Nadu to visit all the Hindu religious sites. They started from Lucknow on August 17 and on August 25, they were in Kanniyakumari to visit several temples. Following their visit, they had returned to their private coach which was attached to the Punalur-Madurai Express at Nagercoil. When the train reached Madurai, the private coach was detached and kept at the stabling line between the platforms 5 and 6. 

It has been reported that as the platforms have no tea shops opened in the wee hours, the passengers inside the private coach decided to make tea by themselves using the gas cylinder at around 5.15 am. Suddenly, the cylinder got exploded when they tried to turn it on and as the doors of the coach were looked inside, the passengers struggled to open them and as no one had spotted the burning coach, it took fire and rescue personnel 30 minutes to arrive at the spot. 

The rescue teams have recovered the bodies and sent the injured people to the hospital. Now, we are being told that the bodies will be taken to Chennai through Madurai-Chennai Pandian Express. While the Railway Department has announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the family members of the deceased, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin announced a solatium of Rs 3 lakh to the family members and he had also informed that measures would be taken to send the mortal remains of the deceased to their hometowns in Uttar Pradesh.