Sindh [Pakistan], August 6, 2023 (ANI): At least 30 people were killed and over 80 others have been injured after 10 bogies of Hazara Express derailed on Sunday near Sahara Railway Station in Sindh’s Nawabshah district, 275 kilometres away from Karachi, Geo News reported.
Benazirabad Division Commissioner Abbas Baloch said in a statement that at least 30 died in the incident while passengers are still stranded in a bogie of the Havelian-bound Hazara Express.
He said a relief train is also about to arrive and emergency has been imposed in hospitals of the district.
Accidents on Pakistan’s decaying rail system are common and successive governments have for years been trying to secure funds to upgrade the rail network as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative for infrastructure projects.
Benazirabad Deputy Inspector General of Police Younis Chandio said that nine out of 10 wrecked bogies had been cleared, with injured and deceased being pulled out, according to Geo News.
The deputy Inspector general said that in order to clear the remaining bogie, large machinery is required.The cause of the train disaster is still unknown.
People on the site and local authorities have shifted the wounded passengers to the People’s Medical Hospital in Sindh’ Nawabshah, which reportedly can cater to around 1,000 people.
The train operations to and from the interior districts of Sindh were suspended after the train crash, with railway authorities saying that it may take up to 18 hours to restore operations.
Authorities fear heavy material and life losses as the ill-fated train is said to be carrying a large number of people, even more than its capacity.
The train, comprising 17 bogies with a capacity of 950 passengers in its economy class and 72 in its air-conditioned standard coach, went off track on its way to Havelian from Karachi in district Sanghar, the senior superintendent of police said.
He said that 10 Station House Officers, four district superintendent of police (DSPs) and more than 100 police personnel are participating in rescue work.
A large number of police personnel from the Police Training Center are also present for relief work.Pakistan Army also joined the relief activities at the site of the accident after special intrsuctions issued by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir.
Additional troops were also called in from Hyderabad and Sakrand with army aviation helicopters.
Meanwhile, the Rangers’ sources told Geo News that personnel of the paramilitary force have also been dispatched for rescue work as per Sindh Rangers Director General (DG) Major General Azhar Waqas.
“Trained personnel have been sent to the accident site for immediate rescue,” the people said, adding that the personnel will immediately transfer the injured to the hospital.
Ambulances have also reached the site where medical aid and food are being provided to the rescued passengers.
It may be noted that the same locomotive — heading to Havelian from Karachi — had escaped a grave accident in March this year after railway officials put a rusted train on tracks. Fortunately, no one was hurt, Geo News reported.
The latest accident came just a day after three coaches of Allama Iqbal Express — travelling from Karachi to Sialkot — derailed, but no one suffered injuries.
According to Geo News, Pakistan has a shoddy record when it comes to accidents involving trains. In the past decade, the country has witnessed a number of deadly train accidents, and they seem to have increased in frequency over the past few years.
In June 2021 two trains collided near Daharki in Sindh killing at least 65 people and injuring about 150 others.
At least 75 passengers burnt to death in a fire aboard the Tezgam express train in October 2019, while a two-train collision at Ghotki killed more than 100 people in 2005.