The Fareed Express was standing at Landhi Railway station when Zakaria Express crashed into it
KARACHI – At least 21 people have been killed and around 60 more injured after two trains collided near Karachi’s Landhi Railway Station early on Thursday, officials said.
The accident occurred when the incoming Zakria Express from the central city of Multan rammed into the Fareed Express, from Lahore. At least three carriages were damaged in the collision.
Both trains run every 15 minutes from their respective stations during morning rush hour. The Fareed Express was already standing at Landhi Railway station when Zakaria Express crashed into it. It appears that the driver of Zakaria express ignored the signals on the line.
Officials said rescuers armed with metal-cutting equipment and heavy cranes had managed to pull all the passengers from the twisted wreckage.
A senior administration official in Karachi said there could have been up to 1,000 passengers in total on board the trains when the accident occurred.
Train services from Karachi to the rest of the country have been suspended.
Factory worker Ajab Gul said he was on his way to work when the accident occurred. ‘Suddenly another train came speeding in and smashed into the parked train,’ he said, describing the sound of the crash as huge. ‘There were clouds of dust and smog. After that we heard screams. People inside the collided trains were screaming and crying.’
Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique tweeted his condolences.
‘I am directly in contact with (Railway district superintendent), supervising the emergency activities,’ he said in the post, ‘Really sad over loss of precious souls.’
I am directly in contact with D.S RAILWAY, supervising the emergency activities. Really sad over loss of precious souls.
— Khawaja Saad Rafique (@KhSaad_Rafique) November 3, 2016
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif expressed his grief and sorrow over the loss of life, and directed an immediate rescue and relief operation, as there may be injured and/or stranded individuals at the scene.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari visited the victims of the accident at Jinnah hospital on Thursday. ‘No one has control over such accidents but the government should ensure that all security measures to avoid such incidents in future.’
Rail accidents are common in Pakistan, which inherited thousands of miles (kilometres) of track and trains from former colonial power Britain.
In September, six persons were killed and over 150 others injured when a Karachi-bound passenger train rammed into a stationary freight train near Multan in Punjab province in a pre-dawn accident.
Today’s crash was the second this year involving the Fareed Express. In February the northbound train hit a van at a crossing in southern Pakistan, killing eight people from the same family.