Fire engulfs express train in southern India; at least 23 dead

A fire broke out on an express train in southern India early Saturday and killed at least 23 passengers, officials said.

A spokesman for the railways, C.S. Gupta, said 67 passengers were in the train car when the fire started Saturday morning.

The train in Andhra Pradesh state was brought to a halt and firefighters and medics have retrieved at least 23 bodies, including two children, according to the officials. The others escaped.

Gupta said that most of those who died suffocated in the coaches that were filled with thick black smoke.

The train was traveling from Bangalore to Nanded in the western state of Maharashtra.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, Gupta said.