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July 12, 2019

21 perish, 100 hurt in train accident

Top Story

July 12, 2019

BAHAWALPUR: A collision between two trains at the Walhar Railway Station, near Sadiqabad, claimed 21 lives, including four of family of Shah Kot (Sargodha), on Thursday.

Around a hundred other passengers were injured and dozens of them were in critical condition till filing of the report. Hospital sources feared increase in death toll in thenext 24 hours. Regional Police Officer Bahawalpur Police Range Imran Mehmood and Deputy Commissioner Rahim Yar Khan Jamil Ahmad Jamil said the rescue operation had been completed and all the injured had been shifted to the Shaikh Zayed Hospital Rahim Yar Khan and Tehsil Headquarters Hospital, Sadiqabad.

The Akbar Bugti Express train was heading towards Quetta from Lahore when it hit a standing freight train at the Walhar Railway Station. According to Pakistan Railways release, the train went onto the loop line due a technical fault, as the station master had mistakenly put the unfortunate train on the track where the freight train was standing.

As a result, the engine and five bogies of Akbar Express rammed into the stationary train and the impact of collision was so horrible that the engine and bogies crashed into one another, killing at least 21 and injuring dozens of others. The dead and injured were taken out after cutting the bogies with gas-cutters. Cranes had to be used to separate the bogies from each another.

Rescue-1122 teams, local volunteers and the Pak Army rescuers completed the operation with the help of ‘Razakars’. People living in nearby villages also reached the accident scene and helped the rescuers. They provided food and other necessities to the passengers and visited hospitals to donate blood for the injured.

Later on, Pakistan Railways arranged for a substitute train for the passengers of Akbar Bugti Express to send them to their destinations. News desk adds: Eyewitness said the accident occurred at 4am when most of the passengers were sleeping. Video footage showed heavily damaged train engine and carriages, as emergency workers and local people used metal-cutting tools and heavy cranes.

The RPO confirmed the death toll and said 89 people were injured. Speaking to Geo News, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in the accident and said the accident occurred due to negligence. He said he had ordered an investigation into the incident.

He said all assistance would be provided to the families of the deceased and injured. He said Rs1.5 million would be given as compensation to the families of those killed in the accident, while Rs500,000 would be given to those critically injured. Rs200,000 will be given to those with minor injuries.

Last month, at least three people were killed when a passenger train collided with a freight train at Makli Shah, near Hyderabad. Jinnah Express passenger train, travelling from Karachi to Lahore, had collided with a stationary freight train near the Latifabad area of Hyderabad, killing a driver, an assistant driver and a guard.

The railways minister said complete investigation was carried out into the train accidents. After the train accident in Hyderabad, two section officers were given notice while two others were dismissed from service.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan offered condolences to the bereaved families, asking the railways minister to take emergency steps to ensure safety standards. In a social media post, PM Imran Khan said, “Saddened to learn of train accident in Sadiqabad. My condolences to the victim families and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. (I) have asked railways minister to take emergency steps to counter decades of neglect of railway infrastructure and ensure safety standards.”

President Arif Alvi also expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives and ordered for providing the best possible medical treatment to the injured. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also sent his condolences and said, “Extremely saddened to know about train accident in Sadiqabad. My condolences to the victim families and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured.”

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Vice President Maryam Nawaz also took to Twitter to express her condolences and said, "Extremely saddened to know of the train accident in RYK that has taken more than 10 lives and left hundreds badly injured. “The ineptitude and misplaced priorities not only spell disaster but death for Pakistanis. No one is concerned. No one is bothered. Callousness is shocking."

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