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A train arriving from Karachi derailed on Monday morning near the town of Daharki, in southern Pakistan, before being struck by another train arriving in the opposite direction. A provisional toll shows at least 40 dead.
At least 40 people were killed and dozens injured on Monday morning, June 7, in the derailment followed by a collision between two passenger trains in southern Pakistan. In the afternoon, some people were still trapped under the metal debris.
Several hours after the accident, the emergency services called on the spot were still working to free the passengers trapped from the wrecks of the convoys near the town of Daharki, in the north of the province of Sindh, a spokesperson told AFP. word of Pakistan Railways.
The double accident happened at around 3.30 a.m. local (10.30 p.m. GMT), at a time when most of the 1,200 passengers on the two trains were likely to sleep. The first train derailed before being struck by another oncoming train, according to the spokesperson.
“We fell on top of each other but nothing serious,” Akhtar Rajput, passenger of the derailed Millat Express, told AFP. “Then another train appeared out of nowhere and hit us and it shook us much more strongly. When I recovered, I saw passengers lying around me, others trying to get out of the wagon. “.
The Millat Express was connecting the large port of Karachi with the town of Sardogha when it derailed, sliding on the tracks of the Sir Syed Express which was coming in the opposite direction from Rawalpindi.
According to the Minister of Information, Fawad Chaudry, the two accidents occurred within minutes of each other.
“I was confused, trying to figure out what was happening to us when the other train hit us,” said Shahid, another passenger.
Difficulties in organizing rescue
Daharki police official Umar Tufail said at least 40 people were killed and dozens more injured, saying they fear the toll will continue to rise in the coming hours.
Images broadcast by local television showed medics placing an IV on a conscious man whose only torso emerged from the chaos.
“The site (of the accident) is off-center and we have difficulties to organize the rescue”, in particular to bring on the spot the appropriate equipment in order to release at least six wagons destroyed in the accident, explained on his side the door – speech of Pakistan Railways. The accident occurred in a remote area of the province on a stretch of railroad crossing rich farmland.
The chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, General Akhtar Nawaz Satti, announced on the private ARY television channel that the army and paramilitary forces stationed at bases nearby had come to the aid of the casualties.
Villagers also came in crowds to try to help the wounded, according to local media images.
According to the Minister of the Interior, Sheikh Rashid, former minister in charge of rail transport, the tracks on which the accident occurred dated back to 1880. A police official assured for his part that he had already alerted the authorities to the accident. “danger” of these routes.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “in shock” and promised a full investigation: “I order a full investigation into railway safety breaches”, assured, Monday, his official Twitter account.
Rail accidents are common in Pakistan, which inherited thousands of miles of track and trains from colonial times, under the British Empire. But their maintenance has been neglected over the years.