Death toll in Ghotki train accident rises to 53, over 100 injured
At least 53 people were killed while 100 others were injured after two passenger trains collided near Dharki, a city located in the Ghotki district of Sindh, on Monday morning, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
DC Ghotki Usman Abdullah confirmed that the death toll in the unfortunate accident has reached up to 42. There is a fear of a further rise in the death toll as the operation continues at the site of the accident to rescue the passengers trapped in the wreckage of the trains.
The accident took place after a train headed from Karachi to Sargodha Millat Express train derailed and shifted to the down track. Due to this, it collided with a Sir Syed Express train coming from Rawalpindi.
A spokesperson for Pakistan Railways said a train heading from Karachi to Sargodha, derailed on to a track carrying service from Rawalpindi in the opposite direction. "Several people have been killed and many others trapped inside," the official said.
Earlier, Umar Tufail, a senior police officer at Daharki confirmed the death toll as 30. Some 15 to 20 passengers are still trapped in the wreckage of the Millat Express train and authorities are trying to arrange heavy machinery to rescue those people who are crying for help, said Ghotki SSP Umar Tufail.
Prime Minister Imran Khan was also shocked by the train accident and has ordered an immediate rescue operation. H wrote on Twitter, “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.”
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
The ISPR in its press release said that the army is busy conducting relief and rescue activities at the place of accident. The Army Jawan and Rangers have reached the venue.
It said that from Pannu Aqil, a batch of military doctors has reached the venue. A special team of Army engineers carrying all resources necessary for rescue operation has also joined the rescue operation.
Railways Minister Azam Swati expressed his heartfelt grief over the incident and ordered an inquiry into the incident. The minister has also left for the place of collision.
Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary said in a tweet that Railways Minister will soon reach the site of the accident and also expressed his deep sorrow over the incident. He said rescue operations were at full swing
وزیر ریلوے اعظم سواتی کچھ دیر میں جائے حادثہ پر پہنچ جائیں گے، ریلوے حادثے میں جو زنگیوں گل ہوئیں ان خاندانوں کا غم دلاسوں سے کم نہیں ہو سکتا وجوہات کا مکمل جائزہ چاہئے، وزیر اعظم نے تحقیقات کا کہا ہے دہشت گردی ہے یا تکنیکی خرابی یا انسانی غلطی ابھی کہا نہیں جا سکتا— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) June 7, 2021
The site showed mangled wreckage, with several green Pakistan railway carriages lying on their side. Some 13 to 14 bogies had derailed in the incident while six to eight were "completely destroyed".
According to DS Railways Sukkur, eight bogies of Millat Express and three bogies of Sir Syed Express have affected. DS Railways said relief trains have been sent from Khanewal and Rohri.
An emergency has been declared at hospitals in Ghotki, Dharki, Obaro and Mirpur Mathelo and doctors and paramedical staff had been called on duty.
However, officials were facing difficulty in rescuing citizens as the bogies had overturned with a fear of an increase in the death toll.
Bridegroom killed, bride injured
An ill-fated bridegroom got killed in the deadly train accident while the bride and 20 barati got injured. The barat was coming back from Karachi to Punjab. The injured barati and the bride have been shifted to Rahimyar Khan.
Passenger trains stopped at different stations
After the tragic trains’ collision near Dharki, the railways authorities have halted the departure of different trains going to Karachi, Lahore and Multan.
The Green Line train bound to leave for Karachi has been stopped at Sadiqabad. Sir Syed Express bound to leave for Lahore has been stopped at Rohri railway station. Zikariya Express bound to leave for Multan has been stopped at Ghutki train station.
Rescue operation going on
The rescue operation is being carried out by Pakistan Army, Rangers and civil administration.
On the instructions of IG Railways Police Arif Nawaz Khan the Railways police are also taking part in the rescue services. Another batch of Railways rescue police reached the venue under the leadership of SP Railways Sukkur Amjad Manzoor.
The railways' authorities have blocked the up and down tracks immediately after the accident.
CM Buzdar expresses sorrow
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has expressed his deep grief and sorrow over the tragic train accident in Ghutki in in the wee hours of Monday which more than 36 people have died and 70 got injured.
The CM prayed for the peace of departed souls and early recovery of the injured.
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.
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.