At least 35 people were killed this morning when two packed express trains collided in southern Pakistan.
Between 15 and 20 passengers were still trapped in the wreckage as the authorities dispatched heavy machinery to rescue survivors from the mangled carriages, according to officials in the Ghotki district of Sindh province.
The Millat Express train derailed some time before dawn and the Sir Syed Express train collided with it soon after. It was not immediately clear what caused the derailment.
Azam Swati, minister for railways, said that so far 35 people had died and dozens of others were injured. ‘I am on my way to the Ghotki district where the tragic train accident happened today,’ he said. Swati said engineers and experts were trying to determine what caused the collision.
Villagers gather to watch as cranes lift the mangled carriages at the scene of the crash outside the village of Dharki in Sindh province, southern Pakistan
Rescue workers carry a body from the scene of the crash today. Dozens were said to have been trapped inside the mangled carriages following the collision
A relative of a victim reacts to the news, placing his hands on a police officer at the scene of the crash
Soldiers and rescue workers help to lift the body of a victim from the wreckage in the Ghotki district of Sindh province
The chewed up train carriages are surveyed by a police officer
One of the train carriages lies in a field, completely bent out of shape following the crash this morning
Soldiers and rescuers prepare to haul dead bodies from the wreckage, preparing a white sheet to place over the victim
Soldiers and local villagers at the scene of the crash this morning, the first train derailed for unknown reasons before the second collided with it
Local villagers look at the wreckage on Monday morning
The trains crashed close to the town of Daharki in the Ghotki district of Sindh province
He said all aspects will be examined, including the possibility of sabotage. ‘We are not sure about the cause of the train accident at this stage,’ he said.
People stand beside the bodies of victims who died in a train accident in northern Sindh province
According to railway officials, about 1,100 passengers were on board the two trains, and arrangements were being made to assist the survivors.
According to a military statement, troops were also participating in the relief and rescue at the scene.
It said military doctors and ambulances were also dispatched from a nearby city and a team of military engineers was sent to Ghotki by helicopter.
According to local media, some of the passengers were traveling by the Millat Express train to attend a wedding party but it was unclear whether they were among the dead or injured.
TV footage showed ambulances transporting injured passengers to hospitals. According to Pakistani TV stations, heavy machinery had not reached the scene about four hours after the crash.
Pakistan’s prime minister expressed his deep sorrow over the tragedy. Imran Khan said on Twitter that he had asked the railway minister to supervise the rescue work and also ordered a probe into the crash.
Officials at Pakistan railways said they had ordered an investigation and rescue work was still in progress.
Aijaz Ahmed, the driver of the train that collided with the derailed train told Pakistan’s Geo News TV that on seeing the derailed train cars, he tried his best to avoid the accident by braking but failed. He did not explain how he survived.
Baggage belonging to the train passengers lies in a field close to the train wreckage
Cranes at the scene of the crash this morning are watched by local villagers while they work
A soldier peers inside the wreckage to check for any survivors or dead bodies
Rescuers and local villagers at the scene this morning as train carriages lie sideways off the track in the Ghotki district of Sindh province on Monday. At least 35 people have been killed on the trains which were carrying a total of 1,100 passengers
Local villagers arrive at the scene of the crash to search the wreckage for any survivors
A mangled train carriage lying off the track in bushes as locals arrive to help with rescue efforts
Locals clambers onto the train carriages as they survey the crash which happened early on Monday as people headed to work
Officials said at least 50 passengers had been transported to the hospital, where some of the passengers were listed in critical condition. Malik Aslam, a local villager, told Pakistan’s Geo News TV that about 100 people were injured and he counted at least 30 bodies of passengers during the rescue and recovery work.
Train accidents are common in Pakistan, where successive governments have paid little attention to improving the poorly maintained signal system and aging tracks.
In 1990, a packed passenger plowed into a standing freight train in southern Pakistan, killing 210 people in the worst rail disaster in Pakistan’s history.