Pakistan train collision leaves at least 38 dead

Multan, Pakistan: Update:

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Two express trains collided in southern Pakistan early on Monday, killing at least 38 passengers, authorities said, as rescuers and villagers worked to pull injured people and bodies from the wreckage.

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The pre-dawn collision took place in the district of Ghotki, in Sindh province. The Millat Express train derailed and the Sir Syed Express train hit it soon afterward, said Usman Abdullah, a deputy commissioner. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the derailment and the subsequent collision.

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Cries for help pierced the night as survivors scrambled to get out and local villagers rushed to the scene to help. As daylight broke, up to 20 passengers remained trapped in the wreckage of the Millat Express and authorities were trying to arrange heavy machinery to rescue those still trapped, said Umar Tufail, a police chief in the district.

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“The challenge for us is to quickly rescue those passengers who are still trapped in the wreckage,” Tufail said. The death toll steadily rose through the morning, and hours later, Abdullah said it had increased to at least 38. Dozens were injured.

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Earlier, Azam Swati, minister for railways who headed to the scene of the crash, told The Associated Press that engineers and experts were trying to determine what caused the collision, and that all aspects would be examined, including the possibility of sabotage.

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According to railway officials, about 1,100 passengers were on board the two trains, and arrangements were also being made to assist the survivors.

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The military said troops were participating in the relief and rescue. It said military doctors and ambulances were dispatched from a nearby city and a team of military engineers was sent to Ghotki by helicopter.

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Toll rises to 34

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At least 34 people were killed and dozens injured Monday when a packed Pakistani inter-city train ploughed into another express that had derailed earlier, officials said.

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An unknown number of people were still trapped in the mangled wreckage of carriages near Daharki in a remote part of Sindh province, a railway spokesman said, adding rescuers had called urgently for specialist equipment to help cut them out.

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“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.

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Senior Daharki police officer Umar Tufail said 34 people were killed and dozens injured.

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Huge crowds of people gathered around the carnage of several overturned Pakistan Railways carriages, some climbing on top of the mangled wreckage in an attempt to reach survivors and bodies, in footage aired by local media.

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Villagers were the first to rush to the site, with rescue workers later trying to cut their way through shredded and protruding metal.

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Bodies were laid out in rows on train benches and covered in traditional scarves.

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One clip showed medics giving an intravenous drip to a conscious passenger whose lower torso was trapped between crushed carriage benches.

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The accident happened on a raised section of track surrounded by lush farmlands.

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The Millat Express was heading from Karachi to Sargodha when it derailed before dawn, spilling carriages onto the track carrying the Sir Syed Express from Rawalpindi in the opposite direction.

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Prime Minister ‘shocked’

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Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted about the railway accident that killed at least 30 in Pakistan. He wrote: “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.”

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Usman Abdullah, a deputy commissioner in Ghotki, said so far 30 people had died. According to railway officials, about 1,100 passengers were on board the two trains, and arrangements were being made to help the surviving passengers.

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Death toll rises to 30

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The death toll from a train collision in Pakistan has risen to 30.

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Between 15 to 20 passengers are still trapped in the wreckage of the Millat Express train and authorities were trying to arrange heavy machinery to rescue those people who are crying for help, said Umar Tufail, a police chief in Ghotki district in Sindh province, where the collision occurred before dawn.

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The Millat Express derailed and the Sir Syed Express train hit it soon afterward, said Usman Abdullah, a district police officer. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the derailment and the subsequent collision.

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TV footage showed ambulances transporting injured passengers to hospitals. According to Pakistani TV stations, heavy machinery had not reached the scene about four hours after the crash. Officials at Pakistan railways said they could not comment immediately because they were trying to handle an emergency.

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Some of the injured passengers were listed in critical condition.

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Malik Aslam, a local villager, told Pakistan’s Geo News TV that about 100 people were injured and he counted at least 30 bodies of passengers during the rescue and recovery work.

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Initial report

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Two express trains collided in southern Pakistan early Monday and at least 25 passengers were killed, police and rescue officials said.

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The Millat Express derailed and the Sir Syed Express train hit it soon afterward, said Usman Abdullah, a police officer in Ghotki district in Sindh province, where the collision occurred.

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He said villagers, rescuers, and police were transporting the dead and injured passengers to nearby hospitals.

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It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the derailment and the subsequent collision.

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Train accidents are common in Pakistan, where successive governments have paid little attention to improving the poorly maintained signal system and ageing tracks.

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