Two passenger trains collided in Pakistan’s southern Sindh Province early Monday morning, killing at least 50 people and injuring 70 others, prompting authorities to call in the Army and paramilitary forces for the challenging task of rescue and relief operations. The accident occurred when the Millat Express train from Karachi to Sargodha derailed and fell on the opposite track and collided with Sir Syed Express headed from Rawalpindi to Karachi, a spokesperson of Pakistan Railways said.
An unknown number of people were still trapped in the tangled wreckage near Daharki in northern Sindh province, a railway spokesman said, adding rescue workers had called urgently for specialist equipment so they could be reached.
“The site is far and that’s why we are facing some trouble in the rescue work, he said, adding at least six wagons were destroyed in the accident.
The spokesman said the accident happened when the Millat Express heading from Karachi to Sargodha, derailed before dawn, spilling onto a track carrying the Sir Syed Express from Rawalpindi in the opposite direction.
At least 22 people had been killed and up to 50 wounded, the railway spokesman said, while Umar Tufail — a senior police officer at Daharki — put the toll at 30 people had been killed.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “shocked" by the accident and promised a full inquiry.
Shocked by the horrific train accident at Ghotki early this morning leaving 30 passengers dead. Have asked Railway Minister to reach site & ensure medical assistance to injured & support for families of the dead. Ordering comprehensive investigation into railway safety faultlines— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) June 7, 2021
Rail accidents are common in Pakistan, which inherited thousands of kilometres (miles) of track and trains from former colonial power Britain.
But the network has seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and lack of investment.
Mobile phone footage shown on television from the site showed mangled wreckage, with several green Pakistan railway carriages lying on their side.
The accident happened in a remote part of the province on a raised section of track surrounded by lush farmlands.
At least 75 people died when a train caught fire while travelling from Karachi to Rawalpindi in October 2019. Two trains carrying hundreds of passengers collided in Karachi in 2016 killing 21 people.