On Monday, an express train rammed another train in Pakistan's southern Sindh province, killing up to 51 people and injuring over 100 others. The Millat Express train from Karachi to Sargodha derailed at Dharki, in the Ghotki area of upper Sindh, and its carriages tumbled onto the next track.
According to a Pakistan Railways spokesperson, the tragic disaster happened when the Sir Syed Express, which was traveling from Rawalpindi to Karachi, collided with the first train's wrecked carriages.
Authorities called in the Army and paramilitary forces for rescue and relief operations in one of the country's worst rail accidents in recent years.
Pakistan trains crash fatality may increase as rescue continues
Ghotki Deputy Commissioner Usman Abdullah was cited by ARY News as he reported that fifty people died, including several railway employees. The toll was changed to 51 late at night. Authorities also said the collision injured over 100 people.
Ghotki SSP Umar Tufail said the death toll may grow dramatically since there were still wrecked railway compartments that rescuers had not been able to enter. He stated that at least 25 persons have major injuries and are in critical condition. Hospitals in Ghotki, Dharki, Obaro, and Mirpur Mathelo were put on emergency alert as injured people were taken in.
Per Republic World, rescue workers are facing difficulties in rescuing passengers who are still stranded, and that a relief train had left Rohri. Officials were still trying to recover dead and injured people from one of the wrecked carriages, but they were experiencing struggles because of a shortage of proper cutters.
"The problem for us is to immediately rescue those people stuck in the wreckage," said Umar Tufail, the district's police chief, Sun Star reported. More than 100 people were hurt and those with significant injuries will be sent to a nearby city's hospital by helicopter. Around 1,100 people were on board the two trains, according to railway officials.
Senior officials said the accident derailed 13 to 14 bogies, while six to eight were entirely wrecked.
Train's cause of the derailment remains unknown
According to Usman Abdullah, a deputy commissioner of Ghotki, the Millat Express train derailed at 3:30 a.m., and the Sir Syed Express train hit it minutes later. The cause of the derailment was not precisely identified. The driver of the second train stated he braked when he noticed the crippled train but didn't have enough time to avoid colliding with it.
The driver of the Sir Syed Express was mildly hurt and villagers removed him from the train's engine after the incident, said the railway officials.
Engineers and specialists are trying to figure out what caused the collision. Azam Swati, Minister for Railroads, indicated that all factors will be investigated, including the potential of sabotage.
Imran Khan, Pakistan's Prime Minister, expressed his great sadness over the incident, saying on Twitter that he had requested the Railway Minister to oversee the rescue efforts. He also called for an investigation into the disaster.
Mohammad Amin, one of the Millat Express passengers who suffered minor injuries, told the Associated Press from a hospital that he and his brother observed mechanics working on one of the compartments before the train left Karachi. This prompted them to assume there was a problem, but they were reassured that everything was all right.
According to Amin, the vehicle that was being repaired at the time was the one that eventually derailed. Officials with the railway said they were taking testimony from survivors, including the drivers.
In Pakistan, train accidents are common because previous administrations have paid little attention to upgrading the deteriorating signal system and old rails. In 1990, a loaded passenger train slammed into a stopped freight train in southern Pakistan, killing 210 people in the country's worst rail accident.