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Indian passenger train rams freight train; 15 die
15 die, 35 hurt in southern India after passenger train rams freight train stopped at station
By The Associated Press

HYDERABAD, India (AP) ' A passenger train rammed into a freight train before dawn Tuesday in southern India, killing at least 15 people in the collision and fire, officials said.

At least 70 people were rescued from the crash in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh state, and at least 35 were injured and taken to nearby hospitals, said Charu Sinha, a top district police official.

The freight train had been stopped at the station near Penukonda when the Hampi Express slammed into it. Four coaches of the passenger train derailed when the driver applied emergency brakes on seeing the freight train on the same track, said district official Durga Das.

One of the coaches caught fire, trapping many passengers. At least eight people were burned to death, Sinha said.

"We are trying to identify the bodies and will hand them over to the families," Das said.

Railway officials said an investigation has begun on the cause of the accident and whether it was due to a faulty signal or caused by a driver error.

"Investigations are on and stringent action will be taken against the guilty," said Mani Kumar, a railway manager.

The Hampi Express was headed for the southern city of Bangalore when the crash took place. Penukonda is about 170 kilometers (105 miles) north of Bangalore.

India has one of the world's largest railroad networks. Around 20 million people in India travel by train each day.

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