At least 20 people were killed and 50 others injured today after a passenger train rammed into a stationary train in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, in the country’s second major rail collision in as many months. The accident occurred in Gaddafi Town in Landhi area in Karachi at 7:18 am when Zakaria Express crashed into the Fareed Express which was waiting for a signal to move onto the city station in Karachi at Juma Goth Train station.
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“It all happened because railways officials gave the wrong signal to the incoming Zakaria Express which was coming from Multan,” advisor to the Sindh Chief Minister on Labour Saeed Ghani told the media. Ghani said railway officials were trying to confirm how many passengers were in both trains but said the figure could be around 1,000.
Two bogies of Fareed Express and one bogie of Zakaria Express were completely destroyed in the collision. TV footage showed mangled and overturned carriages, and local media reported rescuers were working to free people trapped in the wreckage. Cranes were being used to clear the rubble and site and rescue all the passengers trapped inside the damaged carriages.
“Electric cutters are being used to cut through the mangled wreckage,” railways senior superintendent Jahandad told PTI. The crash resulted in traffic jam, and ambulances carrying the injured got stuck on the roads. All trains from Karachi have been suspended till rescue work is completed.
“It will take some time before the track is cleared and railway traffic can be restored because this was a big collision,” Jahandad said. Fareed Express was coming to Karachi from Lahore, while Zakaria Express had set off from Multan. Eyewitnesses said they had watched in horror as the Zakaria Express rammed into the parked Fareed Express from behind which led to three carriages overturning and damage to both trains.
A senior police official said that the death toll was around 20. As many as 50 injured have been brought to Jinnah Hospital, said Dr. Seemi Jamali, Head of Emergency Department at the hospital.
“Many among the injured have head injuries and some are in critical condition,” she added. President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in accident. Sharif ordered immediate inquiry into the accident and directed authorities to provide medical facilities to the injured.
Railway minister Khwaja Saad Rafique announced Rs 1,000,000 as compensation for the dead and Rs 500,000 for the injured. He tweeted that an “independent inquiry” will be held to hold accountable those responsible for the incident.
In September, six persons were killed and over 150 others injured when a Karachi-bound passenger train rammed into a stationary freight train near Multan in Punjab province in a pre-dawn accident.
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