Karachi train collision kills 21, scores injured

HIGH-SPEED CRASH: Passengers on a passing train watch as rescue workers search the w re c k a g e P i c t u re : REUTERS
HIGH-SPEEDCRASH: Passengers on a passing train watch as rescue workers search the wreckage Picture : REUTERS

Rush-hour horror as one express ploughs into another

AT least 21 people have been killed and dozens more injured after two trains carrying hundreds of passengers collided in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi during morning rush hour yesterday.

Witnesses described watching in horror as one train sped into the city’s Quaidabad railway station and rammed into the second, which was stationary, with the roar of the crash swiftly followed by the screams of people trapped inside.

Rescuers with metal-cutting equipment and heavy cranes had managed to pull all the passengers from the twisted wreckage, officials said.Many were rushed to Karachi’s Jinnah Hospital, where an AFP reporter described horrifying scenes as the injured lay screaming and crying while medics rushed to help them.

“I am dying, I am dying, please, please, I am dying,” Abdul Ghaffar, 55,cried as doctors tried to move his legs and hands.

He appeared to have multiple injuries, while his injured children and wife lay on beds nearby.

Other victims appeared too stunned to talk. Many had head and foot injuries, and at least one man had his leg amputated below the knee.

Jinnah Hospital senior medical officer Dr Kaleem Shaikh put the death toll at 21, with 65 injured.

Among the dead, he said, were a couple and their twin daughters.

Casualties were still being counted but there could have been as many as1 000 passengers on the trains when the accident occurred, Karachi administrative official Nasir Nazeer said.

Pakistan’s railways minister claimed the driver had been asleep, and officials said an inquiry had been opened into the cause of the crash.

The accident occurred when the incoming Zakria Express from the central city of Multan rammed into the Fareed Express from Lahore as it waited at Quaidabad Station, also known as Jumma Goth, in Karachi’s Landi neighbourhood.

Ajab Gul said he had been on his way to his factory job when he saw the accident. “There were clouds of dust and smog. People in the collided trains were screaming and crying.”

Onlookers had rushed to their aid, he said. He helped pull 17 people, in the accident occurred, Karachi administrative official Nasir Nazeer said.

Pakistan’s railways minister claimed the driver had been asleep, and officials said an inquiry had been opened into the cause of the crash.

The accident occurred when the incoming Zakria Express from the central city of Multan rammed into the Fareed Express from Lahore as it waited at Quaidabad Station, also known as Jumma Goth, in Karachi’s Landi neighbourhood.

Ajab Gul said he had been on his way to his factory job when he saw the accident. “There were clouds of dust and smog. People in the collided trains were screaming and crying.”

Onlookers had rushed to their aid, he said. He helped pull 17 people, including women and children, from the wreckage.

“But there were many others trapped inside.”

Train services from Karachi to the rest of the country have been suspended. Rail accidents are common in Pakistan, which inherited thousands of kilometres of track and trains from former colonial power Britain.

The railways have seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and lack of investment.

The crash was the second this year involving the Fareed Express.

In February the northbound train hit a van at a crossing in southern Pakistan, killing a family of eight people.

Separately, at least 13 people had been killed and nearly 100 injured in two pile-ups involving 16 vehicles on the Lahore-Islamabad motorway due to dense smog, police official Aslam Gondal said.

Leave a Reply