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At least 23 reported killed in huge India train fire

Jagadeesh NV / EPA

Rescue workers inspect the burned-out coach at the site of a train fire in Anantapur in the state of Andhra Pradesh, southern India, on Dec. 28, 2013.

At least 23 people were killed early Saturday when an express train caught fire in India, railway officials said.

The train, identified as the 16594 Nanded-to-Bangalore express, erupted in flames about 3:45 a.m. (6:15 p.m. ET Friday) in the city of Anantapur in the state of Andhra Pradesh, the news channels India TV and NDTV reported.

"Most of those who died suffocated in the coaches that were filled with thick black smoke," CS Gupta, a national railways spokesman, told NDTV.

At least 12 other people were being treated at three local hospitals.

India TV aired live images of the train on the  track, flames blasting out of several windows. 

A short-circuit was suspected as the cause of the fire, a railway official told Times Now TV of New Delhi in a live report. The fire was out and the track had been cleared by daybreak Saturday.

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Aijaz Rahi / AP

An Indian woman watches with folded hands as hospital staff and volunteers carry charred bodies of passengers near the site of a train fire about 100 miles north of Bangalore, India, on Saturday. A fire engulfed two coaches of an express train in southern India early Saturday, killing at least 23, many of whom became trapped and suffocated after the doors failed to open, officials said.

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