At least 32 people were killed after a train caught fire in southern India early Friday, a government statement said.

Eight others were injured in the accident and have been taken to a local hospital for treatment, the statement by the Federal Railway Ministry said.

The fire broke out in a sleeper coach of the train and spread to four other coaches, the statement said, but gave no reason for the start of the blaze.

Local police official V.C. Sajjanar had said earlier that the Gautami Express caught fire early Friday morning while it was roughly 124 miles north of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh state.

Sajjanar said the fire appeared to have been caused by a short circuit in the train's wiring.

He said the passengers pulled a chain to stop the train as soon as the fire erupted and some travelers jumped out of the coaches.

Accidents are frequent on India's rail network, which is one of the world's largest. Most of the accidents are blamed on poor maintenance.