Insight Online News
Islamabad, Aug 7 : At least thirty passengers died and over hundred injured on Sunday after nearly 10 bogies of Havelian-bound Hazara Express derailed near Sahara Railway Station, located 275 kilometres away from Karachi, according to government and police officials said on Monday.
While confirming the casualties, Sindh’s Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that nine bogies have been cleared, adding that a rescue operation is underway in the remaining bogies to recover passengers.
He said that critically injured people will be transported to the southern port city of Karachi for better treatment.
The Hazara Express train, comprising around 16 to 17 bogies with over 1,000 passengers, veered off the track while crossing a canal bridge on its way to the country’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province from Karachi.
Minister for Railway Khawaja Saad Rafique told the media that authorities are investigating the incident and the possibility of “sabotage” can be ruled out.
Rescue teams, the Pakistan Army and Pakistan Railways personnel rushed to the site and initiated relief activities. Local volunteers also helped rescue the stranded passengers.
Affaq Rao, an eyewitness, told Xinhua he was working in the fields when he heard a strange loud bang.
“It was the noise of the train derailing. Initially, I could not figure out what to do, but then along with other locals, I ran towards the coaches and tried helping people get out of the train,” he said.
“These were the most horrific and heart-wrenching scenes of my life,” Rao said.
Rehman Malik was traveling to the eastern city of Rawalpindi for his business venture when the unfortunate incident happened. “Fortunately, I remained unhurt,” he said.
Malik, who received minor injuries in the accident, said that the incident was his worst nightmare.
After the train derailment, train operations were suspended, affecting the routine of many trains, with railway authorities saying that it may take up to 18 hours to restore operations.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed deep grief and sorrow over the incident, and directed the authorities to provide the best medical treatment to the injured people.