Published on Sunday, 11 November 2012 06:27
Twenty-five people were killed on the spot when a train transporting petrol derailed at 9.50am on November 9 evening and burst into flames.
The train was heading to the Myitkyina township of Kachin State from Mandalay.
The overturned carriages burst into flames, killing 16 men and seven women while two bodies were damaged beyond recognition. The victims were collecting gasoline that had spilled from the wreckage of the carriages for about one hour after the accident, according to a news release from the Ministry of Railways.
Seven fire engines from nearby were deployed to put out the blaze, which was finally achieved at 2:15 am.
The accident occurred between mile post No 511/8 and No 511/13 near Chetgyi station in Kantbalu township of Sagaing Region.
“The derailment occurred at about 9am. Villagers nearby came to collect the spilled petrol with buckets. One hour later, the petrol burst into flames as high as 100 feet. A total of 85 persons were seriously injured, and taken to the hospital,” said a member of a social welfare association.
The authorities said the blaze was possibly triggered by sparks from the collision of two iron buckets used to collect the gasoline. Authorities found 22 iron buckets at the scene.
Although five security personnel tried to deter the locals from gathering the spill, they were outnumbered by a crowd of almost a 100 people, a source said.
“I rushed from the cinema to collect gasoline. My sister returned from there as she could not breathe well. Then I was injured in the burst,” said an injured 27-year old man.
The local authorities are now inspecting 150 sleepers of railway tracks near the accident site.
Railway schedules that were suspended after the accident were resumed at 10.50pm after the wreckage was removed from the tracks.
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