25 die in Myanmar train blaze

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 November, 2012, 1:32am

Twenty-five people were killed and dozens more injured yesterday in a blaze sparked by a train accident in northwest Myanmar, the government said.

Two petrol tankers loaded onto the train overturned when it derailed, and local villagers collecting the fuel were burned to death in the ensuing inferno, according to the information ministry website.

More than 60 people were hurt in the accident, which happened at about 10am in Kanbalu in Sagaing Region, bordering India, it said.

A witness, Myint Kyi, told the US-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia that the dead included 16 men, seven women and two bodies so badly burned their gender was not immediately apparent. He gave the number of injured as 74.

It said authorities were investigating the accident and the casualties had been rushed to hospitals in the area.

Safety standards are generally poor in Myanmar, which is emerging from decades of military rule under a new quasi-civilian government, and the decrepit rail system has suffered from years of under-investment.

Isolated under almost half a century of junta rule, Myanmar has embarked upon a rapid series of political and economic reforms under President Thein Sein, who is now wooing foreign investors to boost the economy.