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74 passengers killed as Tezgam train catches fire near RYK

The train, Tezgam, was on its way from Karachi to Rawalpindi, when a gas cylinder exploded, leaving 74 passengers dead.

By Web Desk
October 31, 2019

Handout picture released by Punjab Emergency Service Rescue 1122 shows residents gathering beside the burnt-out train carriages after they caught fire near Rahim Yar Khan on October 31, 2019.—AFP photo

RAHIM YAR KHAN:  At least 74 passengers were killed and many others  injured when an express train caught fire near the city area of Liaquatpur, officials     said on Thursday.

The train,  Tezgam, was on its way from Karachi to Rawalpindi, when a gas cylinder owned by passengers exploded. 

The fire was caused by the explosion in a gas cylinder, confirmed the Pakistan Railway officials.

Also read: Names of passengers injured in train fire near Rahim Yar Khan

Identities of the deceased were not known . An official said at 16 bodies were charred beyond recognition.  

Medics say identification of the deceased would be carried out through DNA testing .

Officials said the   fire engulfed  two economy class   bogies   and most of the passengers  got up from Hydrabad.

The coach where the cylinder blasted was booked by the Taleeghi Jamaat’s men. They were boiling eggs on the gas stove to have breakfast when it exploded with a huge blast. After the explosion, the raging fire engulfed two other coaches also.

The fire tenders and other emergency teams  immediately rushed to the site and carried out the rescue operation. Bodies and injured were shifted to  the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ).

The firefighters were deployed to extinguish the fire. Pakistan Army contingents were also dispatched to the area to take part in rescue and relief activities. An Army Aviation Helicopter  was airlifting the injured  from the site of the incident.

The affected bogies have been separated from the train, said the PR official. 

Aijaz Ahmad, CEO Pakistan Railways, told media  that  the train schedule will not be affected by the sad  incident.

In a statement issued by the PM Office, the prime minister expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in  the accident. PM Imran  ordered to provide best possible healthcare facilities to the injured.

Khan also tendered his condolences towards the families whose loved ones died  the mishap.

Railways Minister  announces compensation

Sheikh Rashid  has announced Rs.15 million as compensation for each passenger killed in the incident while Rs500,000 for the injured.

He said he would himself monitor the relief activities. The minster said Tableeghi Jamaat Ameer  identified as Hussain, who had booked the two ill-fated coaches, remained safe in the incident.

He said Hussain has names of those who lost their lives in the incident. The minister conceded that it was "our negligence" that the passengers managed to carry the gas cylinder into the train

Prime Minister Imran Khan orders inquiry 

Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered an inquiry into the train incident that killed 65 people in Rahim Yar Khan on Thursday.

Expressing sorrow over the loss of lives, the premier said on Twitter,"My condolences go to the victims' families & prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured".

Punjab Chief Minister cancels scheduled activities

"I have cancelled my scheduled activities and going to Liaqatpur to monitor rescue operation myself. All hospitals in the area have been put on emergency," Usman Buzdar said on Twitter.

"Tragic accident in #RahimYarKhan is a sad and painful news. Our prayers and sympathies are with the families of victims," he said.

Emergency contacts 

More information about the incident can be obtained through helpline number 0300-8060780 while an emergency center has been established at Karachi railway station which can be contacted through telephone number 091-99213506.