Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fifteen people are dead, and thirty more have become ill after attempting to steal fuel from a freight train travelling through Karbi Anglong, Assam, India. It is thought they broke into a tank containing toxic chemicals.

According to a railway official, the train was in the remote region with 48 wagons of petrol and diesel when raiders intercepted it. The train was in a forested area at the time and was surrounded by armed men, a common occurrence in an area where trains transporting products to and from refineries are regularly targeted.

Witnesses described liquid pumping out of a tank at high pressure. There are no reports as in to what the tank contained, but the fumes were toxic; when police arrived they found that fifteen had succumbed to the gas, and thirty more were sickened by it. A number of empty oil drums, presumably intended for fuel from the train, were also discovered.