Eight killed as Indian train runs over passengers: Reports

NEW DELHI (AFP) - An express train on Saturday rammed into a group of passengers in southern India after they leapt from another train following fears of a blaze, killing at least eight, reports said.

Scores of people were also reportedly injured in the accident at Gotlam station in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The victims were crossing railway tracks after getting off another train in panic following rumours that a fire was racing through the carriages.

"The passengers of the Alleppey-Dhanbad Express train pulled the (emergency) chain and got down. The Raigarh-Vijaywada train running on the other line ran over them," railway spokesman J.P. Mishra told an Indian television channel.

Most local media reports put the number of dead at eight. Local officials were not immediately available for comment.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy assured the injured would receive the best medical treatment, while offering his condolences.

India's dilapidated railway system has a notoriously bad record, with hundreds of accidents reported annually.

In 2012 a government report said that almost 15,000 people were killed every year on India's railways. It described the deaths as an annual "massacre" due to poor safety standards.

An express train ploughed into a crowd of Hindu pilgrims in eastern India in August, killing 37 and triggering a riot that left one of the drivers dead and carriages ablaze.

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