Coimbatore, July 19
THE presence of mind of the guard of the Coimbatore-bound Cheran Express from Chennai in de-linking a burning coach helped save the lives of many passengers today.
However, one person was found charred to death inside the toilet of the coach in an apparent act of self - immolation that was suspected to have caused the fire.
According to railway sources, the incident occurred around 5.30 am when the train was nearing Irugur, about 15 km from Coimbatore. On noticing smoke emanating from the toilet of the general compartment, the train's guard, whose coach was next to the general compartment, alerted the train driver on the walkie-talkie and got down and de-linked the general compartment from the rest of the train which moved subsequently a few metres away. The passengers travelling in the general compartment jumped to safety with their luggage. Soon, fire engulfed the entire coach and gutted it completely with only the shell remaining. The sources said the body of one unidentified male was found charred beyond recognition inside the toilet of the burnt coach. It was suspected that the person, in an apparent suicide attempt, had immolated himself inside the toilet. Train traffic on the Salem-Coimbatore line had to be regulated for about three hours due to the accident but traffic on the adjacent Coimbatore-Salem railway line continued unaffected.