SUKKUR (June 7, 2021): At least 36 passengers were killed and 50 plus were injured, as Sir Syed Express collided with Millat Express near Dahrki in Sindh.
Several bogies were turned off the track, SSP Ghotki Umar Tufail said around 20 to 25 people are trapped under the wreckage.
Area people said the rescue operations have been slow after the train accident. Heavy machinery did not reach the place of accident till morning.
Ghotki Deputy Commissioner Usman Abdullah said at least 30 people had been killed while 50 others had been injured in the incident. However, officials were facing difficulty in rescuing citizens as the bogies had overturned, he said, adding that the death toll could increase.
Speaking to Geo News, the deputy commissioner said that 13 to 14 bogies had derailed in the incident while six to eight were “completely destroyed”. He said that citizens that were still trapped were a “challenge” for rescue officials.
According to DS Railway Sukkur Tariq Latif, the train accident took place at 3.45am. After the accident, up-and-down railway traffic was suspended.
DS Sukkur said, the accident took place between Raiti and Dehri stations. The drivers and staff of both trains are safe. Relief trains have been deported from Rohri and Khanewal.
Spokesperson of Pakistan railways said the accident took place after eight bogies of Millat Express train — headed from Karachi to Sargodha — derailed and fell across the “down track”. Sir Syed Express train coming from Rawalpindi collided with the fallen bogies.
Spokesperson for Railways said that Railway Police, local police and local administration are on the spot for rescue and relief operation. Help centers have been set up in Karachi, Sukkur, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi for the convenience of travelers.
According to the railway spokesman, the injured were shifted to the respective hospital Rohri, Pano Aqil and Civil Hospital Sukkur. Most of the injured have been discharged after first aid.
How accident took place?
DS Railway Sukkur Tariq Latif said that two months ago, he wrote to the railway department that the track of Sukkur division was not in good condition and needed repair on an emergency basis.
The driver Sir Syed Express Aijaz Ahmed told Geo News that the accident took place at 3:45 am in the morning, and I and my assistant driver were Iftikhar in sound health position.
According to the driver Aijaz Ahmed, we applied emergency brake when saw the bogies on the down track, but the accident happened.
Train driver further said two air-conditioned business class bogies and one dining car of Sir Syed Express were affected in the accident, while three air-conditioned and eight economy class bogies of Multan Express train suffered the accident and fell off the track.
After the accident, eight bogies of Millat Express and three bogies of Sir Syed Express including engine went off the tracks. Some of the bogies got into the ditch.
Prime Minster shocked
Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was shocked by the horrific train accident in Ghotki. He said he had asked Railway Minister Azam Swati to reach the site and ensure medical assistance to the injured and support for the families of the deceased.
“Ordering comprehensive investigation into railway safety fault lines,” PM Khan said on Twitter.
Chief Minister Sindh grieved
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah while taking the notice of the incident, expressed grief over the lives lost. He directed the Sukkur Commissioner to mobilise the district administration. “Machinery should be arranged to rescue passengers that are still stuck,” he said.
Railway accidents in Pakistan
Rail accidents are common in Pakistan, which inherited track and trains from British colonial power. The network was on decline due to corruption, mismanagement and lack of investment.
At least 75 people died when a train caught fire while travelling from Karachi to Rawalpindi in October 2019.
On 3 November 2016 accident between the Fareed Express and the Bahauddin Zakaria Express that occurred at Landhi station, in Karachi killing 21 people and injuring 65 people
On 2 July 2015 a military-special train carrying Pakistan Army unit was derailed at Gujranwala due to a bridge collapsing under it. Nineteen people were killed and over 100 were injured.
On 17 November 2015 at Aab-e-Gum, Balochistan, Pakistan when the Jaffar Express passenger train derailed. Twenty people were killed and 96 were injured.
On 4 January 1990 at Sangi railway station near Sukkur in the Sindh 307 people were killed, in Bahauddin Zakaria Express accident making it Pakistan’s worst rail disaster.
On September 29, 1957, a Karachi-bound express passenger train collided at full speed with a stationary oil-tanker train before midnight, at Gambar Railway Station. 300 people were killed and 150 wounded by the accident.