At least 23 people, including two children, have died after a fire broke out on a train in southern India, media reports say.

The blaze engulfed a carriage of the Nanded-Bangalore Express while it was travelling through Andhra Pradesh state, rail officials said.

Police said many of the dead had been suffocated by thick black smoke filling the train.

The reason for the fire, which has been extinguished, is not yet known.

More than 60 passengers are thought to have been on board the train when the fire broke out in an air-conditioned carriage around 03:30 local time (22:00 GMT).

Officials said rescue operations were being hampered by thick fog and smog.

The exact number of injured and missing people remains uncertain.

Accidents are common on India's immense state-owned rail network, which operates 9,000 passenger trains and carries some 18 million passengers every day, connecting every corner of the country.

Last year, 47 people were killed in a fire on a passenger train travelling in Andhra Pradesh.

(BBC News)

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