At least 30 people were killed and dozens injured, some still trapped in the carriages, in a derailment followed by a collision between two passenger trains Monday morning in southern Pakistan.
Emergency services were trying to free an unknown number of trapped passengers from the wreckage of the Millat Express, which crashed near the city of Daharki in Sindh province, a Pakistan Railways spokesman told AFP.
The train from Karachi derailed shortly before dawn near Daharki and was then hit by another train from Rawalpindi traveling in the opposite direction, the source added. A Daharki local police official, Umar Tufail, reported at least 30 dead, but the company spokesman reported 22 dead and 50 injured.
Images captured by mobile phones showed a tangle of twisted iron and several green Pakistan Railways carriages overturned.
One of the images also showed a medical team helping a man whose torso was only visible. The emergency services urgently requested specialized equipment to reach the trapped people. “The site is far away and that is why we faced some problems with the rescue tasks,” explained the company spokesman, who specified that at least six wagons were destroyed in the collision.
There are difficulties in getting the proper equipment to the scene of the accident to clear the cars devastated in the accident, he added. The accident occurred in a remote area of the province, on a stretch of road that crosses rich farmland.
The Pakistani army and ranger units came to the scene from nearby bases to assist in rescue operations, Lt. Gen. Akhtar Nawaz Satti, chairman of the national disaster management authority, said in statements to the private TV channel ARY. .
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “shocked” and promised a full investigation. “I am ordering a comprehensive investigation into the failures in rail safety,” Khan said Monday on his Twitter account.
Rail accidents are common in Pakistan, which inherited thousands of miles of tracks and trains from its time as a colony of the British Empire.
However, the rail network has been in decline for decades due to corruption, mismanagement and lack of investment. In October 2019, at least 75 people were killed in a fire on the train traveling from Karachi to Rawalpindi. In 2016, two trains carrying hundreds of passengers collided in Karachi, killing 21 people.