Seven killed in two Punjab train accidents

Published September 16, 2016
PEOPLE gather beside the wreckage at the site of the collision of two trains on the outskirts of Multan on  Thursday.—AFP
PEOPLE gather beside the wreckage at the site of the collision of two trains on the outskirts of Multan on Thursday.—AFP

MULTAN/RAWALPINDI: Seven people were killed and over 100 others injured in two train accidents in Punjab on Thursday.

In the first accident, which occurred at around 3am, the Karachi-bound Awam Express smashed into a goods train about 25 kilometres from Multan, trapping a large number of passengers in overturned carriages.

Three passengers died while 93 received injuries, according to an emergency rescue service.

“The last trapped victim was extricated after four hours by cutting metal sheets of train carriage with the help of hydraulic cutters,” Rescue 1122 said.

In the other accident, three young men lost their lives and three others were injured when their car collided with a train while crossing a railway track near Fateh Jang, 40km southwest of Islamabad.

All the victims, aged between 25 and 27, hailed from Pindigheb.

Trains collision

According to Railway officials, the Awam Express collided with the goods train when the latter had stopped after hitting a man who was crossing the tracks. As a result, four coaches of the Awam Express derailed.

Railways CEO Javed Anwar said that an initial report had been sent to the government. He blamed the driver of the Awam Express for ignoring the signal.

Some TV channels quoted the driver Abdul Rauf as claiming that the signal was green.

The rescue operation was launched jointly by Rescue 1122, railways, army and police personnel.

Rescue 1122 personnel and vehicles from Multan and neighbouring districts shifted the injured to hospitals in Multan and Shujabad. APP quoted the head of the Nishtar Hospital emergency as saying that eight out of the 31 injured passengers admitted to the hospital were in critical condition.

Rescue sources said that 50 of the injured were given first aid by 1122 teams on the spot.

The dead were identified as Sardar (40) and Nasir (23) of Rahim Yar Khan and Gul Hassan of Sindh. The fourth deceased was the one hit by the goods train earlier. Rail traffic was suspended on the Multan-Karachi section after the accident. Awam Express coaches which did not derail were taken to Multan and sent to Karachi via Khanewal and Lodhran.

The accident affected a large number of passengers who had booked their seats on different trains from the Multan railway station for destinations in south Punjab and Sindh.

Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said the federal government’s inspector of railways would submit an inquiry report after three days.

He said the cause of the accident could only be determined and responsibility fixed after completion of the inquiry.

“It is the responsibility of the railways to make arrangements for the treatment of all the passengers injured in the accident and transport them to their destination after recovery,” said the minister while adding that of the total injured in the accident, the condition of 19 people was stated to be serious at the Nishtar Hospital and Railways Hospital at Multan.

Meanwhile, a railways spokesperson at its headquarters in Lahore said the damaged coaches and locomotive had been removed from the accident site and traffic restored on both the tracks some 16 hours after the collision.

“The accident damaged down track which had been repaired. Rail traffic has also been restored on the down track. We have imposed a 10 kilometres per hour speed restriction on the portion of the affected track for the time being,” said the spokesperson.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2016

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