HYDERABAD: Six members of a family were crushed to death in an accident, between their vehicle and the Karachi-bound Green Line train, at an unmanned railway crossing in Pale Jani railway station yard, around 26 kilometers from Hyderabad on Sunday.
The family, belonging to Jarwar community. was heading towards Matiari district's Bhitshah area from Tando Allahyar district and the the occupants were planning to visit the shrine of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, according to SSP Matiari, Mohammad Amjad Shaikh. Four of the deceased were identified as Abdul Haq, Furqan, Shamim and Guddi. The bodies were shifted to taluka hospital. Bystanders said the deceased were traveling in an Alto car which might have gotten stuck on the track due to overloading.
Green Line services train of Pakistan Railways, which was bound for Karachi usually reaches Hyderabad railway station at 10:15am as per its daily scheduled arrival but following the accident it reached at 12:35pm to head for Karachi. Authorities are likely to change the locomotive at Hyderabad railway station.
According to Divisional Superintendent Railway Nisar Memon, the accident occurred at one of the unmanned railway crossing points in his jurisdiction.
"On all such points it is responsibility of the user who is using that passage to ensure that there is no train coming from either side. I have just verified that warning signs were present on both sides of the track," Memon said.
He confirmed that a three member inquiry team, comprising of a divisional transportation officer, divisional engineer-II and divisional signal engineer, has been constituted to probe the incident. He said that at the time of the fatal mishap the train speed was normal, which was 105km.
Memon said that such unmanned points are always in use of people of the area for their daily chores.
Previously, following a similar incident in Punjab, in which school children had died after their van was hit by a speeding train, the apex court had directed Pakistan Railways to ensure that all such unmanned railway crossing should be properly manned across country.
The Supreme Court had asked that Pakistan Railways should coordinate with each district government for such management.
According to Memon, there are 42 such points in his area and PR had been coordinating with the Sindh government this regard.
"Sindh government had allocated Rs100 million in this regard but these were not released. Now the provincial government is said to have made an allocation against it in 2015-16 budget," he said. He further said that Sindh government has also prepared project cost (PC-I) for this purpose as well.
Railway accidents are common in Pakistan, which are mostly blamed on poor maintenance and human error.
Recently, at least 19 people, including four army officers, were killed when three bogies of a special train carrying army officials fell into a canal and one other was derailed as a railway bridge collapsed near Gujranwala.
Pakistan suffered one of its worst train disasters in more than a decade in 2005 when three trains ploughed into each other in Sindh province, killing around 150 people.
In July 2013, 14 members of an extended family were killed when a speeding train hit a motorcycle rickshaw at an unmanned level-crossing near Khanpur village near Gujranwala.
More than 350 people were killed in a train crash in 1990, the worst train accident ever in the country.