Railways and relief agencies said Pakistan woke up on Monday to the news of a fatal collision between two trains near Ghotki, killing 50 people and injuring several others.
The collision occurred when the Sargodha Millat Express from Karachi derailed near Daharki and as a result the bogies fell on the other track. The accident would have been averted if the railways had issued a warning to stop trains on this section. But that did not happen and in the meantime the Karachi Sir Syed Express from Rawalpindi came wandering on the opposite track.
Railway Sukkur Divisional Superintendent Tariq Latif said that the accident had started a blame game. He said that he had informed the authorities in writing a month ago that the condition of the track at 13 places in Sukkur division was not good, including the location of the accident site. These 13 places. Railway officials rejected the claim, saying it had been provided with sufficient funds to repair the spot.
According to AFP, the double wreck occurred around 3.30am when most of the 1,200 passengers on both trains were drowning. “We beat each other, but it wasn’t that deadly,” Akhtar Rajput, a derailed train passenger, told AFP.
“Then another train hit us from somewhere, and it hit us harder. When I woke up, I saw passengers lying around me, some trying to get out of the coach.
The Millat Express was en route from Karachi to Sargodha when it derailed. Vehicles were thrown on the track from Rawalpindi to Sir Syed Express from the opposite direction.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the incidents took place a short distance away.
“I was depressed and trying to find out what happened to us when the other train collided,” another passenger, Shahid, told AFP.
In the first three hours, 40 people were killed and dozens injured, said Omar Tufail, a senior Daharki police officer.
In a clip broadcast on a local channel, paramedics showed a conscious passenger dripping a nerve, whose lower body was trapped between the benches of a crushed vehicle.
Rescue and relief
Local farmers and villagers topped the list, with huge crowds gathered around the massacre of several overturned Pakistan Railways vehicles – some at the top trying to reach the survivors.
The dead were lined up on train seats and covered in traditional scarves.
The accident happened on a high part of the track surrounded by lush fields.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, a former railway minister, said the track where the accident took place was built in the 1880s and described it as “a tremor”.
A senior police official said he had already warned authorities about the “dangerous condition” of the tracks and vehicles.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “shocked” by the accident and promised a full investigation.
Gul Mohammad, who works with the Edhi Foundation Ambulance Service to help remove the bodies from the scene, said communication problems were an obstacle to co-ordinating rescue efforts.
“I’m talking to you as I stand on the roof of my ambulance for a better ambulance,” he told AFP.
Rail accidents are common in Pakistan, which has inherited thousands of kilometers (miles) of track and trains from the former colonial power Britain.
But the network has seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and a lack of investment.
Listen in 1990. In Suk in, more than 300 people were killed and 700 injured when an overloaded 16-car intercity train collided with a stationary freight train near the town of Skor.
Most recently, in October 2019, at least 75 people were killed when a train caught fire on its way from Karachi to Rawalpindi.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Imran Khan offered condolences to the victims and expressed shock over the incident.
Army, Rangers soldiers as well as military doctors and paramedics have reached the spot. Two helicopters are being dispatched from Multan to evacuate the victims and provide immediate relief. Passengers can get information about the accident from 041-9200488, 03334805996 Faisalabad, 051-9270834 Rawalpindi, 03312706334 Karachi Cantonment, 071-5813433 Rohri and 071-9310087 Sukkur.
Authorities have announced Rs 5.5 lakh each for the heirs of those killed in the accident, while an investigation committee has been formed which will be headed by a Grade 21 officer to investigate the accident.
According to the nature of the injured, the victims will be given a minimum of Rs 100,000 and a maximum of Rs 30,000.
The driver and crew of both trains are safe.
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