Pakistan train crash kills at least 35 people

0

At least 35 people have been killed in a collision between two overcrowded express trains in southern Pakistan this morning.

According to officials in the Ghotki district of Sindh province, between 15 and 20 passengers were still trapped in the wreckage when authorities sent heavy machinery to rescue survivors from the mutilated carriages.

The Millat Express train derailed some time before dawn and shortly afterwards the Sir Syed Express train collided with it. It was not immediately clear what caused the derailment.

Railways minister Azam Swati said 35 people have been killed and dozens more injured so far. “I am on my way to the Ghotki district where the tragic train accident happened today,” he said. Swati said engineers and experts were trying to determine what caused the collision.

Villagers gather to watch cranes lift the mangled carriages at the crash site outside Dharki village in Sindh province, South Pakistan

Villagers gather to watch cranes lift the mangled carriages at the crash site outside Dharki village in Sindh province, South Pakistan

Rescue workers are carrying a body from the crash site today.  Dozens would become trapped in the mangled carriages after the collision

Rescue workers are carrying a body from the crash site today. Dozens would become trapped in the mangled carriages after the collision

A victim's relative reacts to the news and puts his hands on a police officer at the scene of the accident

A victim’s relative reacts to the news and puts his hands on a police officer at the scene of the accident

Soldiers and rescuers help to lift victim's body from wreckage in Ghotki district of Sindh province

Soldiers and rescuers help to lift victim’s body from wreckage in Ghotki district of Sindh province

The chewed-up train cars are examined by a police officer

The chewed-up train cars are examined by a police officer

One of the train cars is in a field, completely bent after this morning's crash

One of the train cars is in a field, completely bent after this morning’s crash

Soldiers and rescuers prepare to retrieve dead bodies from the wreckage and lay out a white sheet to cover the victim

Soldiers and rescuers prepare to retrieve dead bodies from the wreckage and lay out a white sheet to cover the victim

Soldiers and local villagers at the crash site this morning, the first train derailed for unknown reasons before the second collided with it

Soldiers and local villagers at the crash site this morning, the first train derailed for unknown reasons before the second collided with it

Local villagers look at the wreck on Monday morning

Local villagers look at the wreck on Monday morning

Trains crashed near Daharki town in Ghotki district of Sindh . province

Trains crashed near Daharki town in Ghotki district of Sindh . province

He said all aspects will be investigated, including the possibility of sabotage. “We are not sure at this time of the cause of the train accident,” he said.

People stand next to bodies of victims killed in train crash in northern Sindh . province

People stand next to bodies of victims killed in train crash in northern Sindh . province

About 1,100 passengers were on board the two trains, according to railway officials, and arrangements were being made to help the survivors.

According to a military statement, troops also participated in the relief and rescue on the spot.

Military doctors and ambulances were also sent from a nearby town, and a team of military engineers was sent by helicopter to Ghotki.

According to local media, some passengers traveled on the Millat Express train to attend a wedding party, but it was unclear whether they were among the dead or injured.

TV footage shows ambulances transporting injured passengers to hospitals. According to Pakistani TV stations, no heavy machinery was on the scene about four hours after the crash.

The Pakistani Prime Minister expressed his deep sorrow at the tragedy. Imran Khan said on Twitter that he had asked the railway minister to oversee rescue efforts and also ordered a probe into the crash.

Pakistan Railways officials said they had ordered an investigation and rescue work was still underway.

Aijaz Ahmed, the driver of the train that collided with the derailed train, told Pakistan’s Geo News TV that upon seeing the derailed rail cars, he tried his best to avoid the accident by braking, but failed. He didn’t say how he survived.

Luggage of the train passengers lies in a field close to the train wreck

Luggage of the train passengers lies in a field close to the train wreck

Cranes at the crash site this morning are watched by local villagers as they work

Cranes at the crash site this morning are watched by local villagers as they work

A soldier peers into the wreckage to see if there are any survivors or dead bodies

A soldier peers into the wreckage to see if there are any survivors or dead bodies

Rescue workers and local villagers are on the scene this morning as train carriages lie sideways off the tracks in Sindh province's Ghotki district on Monday.  At least 35 people have died on the trains carrying a total of 1,100 passengers

Rescue workers and local villagers are on the scene this morning as train carriages lie sideways off the tracks in Sindh province’s Ghotki district on Monday. At least 35 people have died on the trains carrying a total of 1,100 passengers

Local villagers arrive at the crash site to search the wreckage for survivors

Local villagers arrive at the crash site to search the wreckage for survivors

A mangled train car lies off the track in bushes as locals arrive to help with rescue efforts

A mangled train car lies off the track in bushes as locals arrive to help with rescue efforts

Locals clamber onto the train cars as they watch the crash that happened early Monday as people were on their way to work

Locals clamber onto the train cars as they watch the crash that happened early Monday as people were on their way to work

Officials said at least 50 passengers had been taken to hospital, where some passengers were admitted in critical condition. Malik Aslam, a local villager, told Pakistan’s Geo News TV that about 100 people had been injured and he counted at least 30 bodies of passengers during the rescue and recovery efforts.

Train accidents are common in Pakistan, where successive governments have paid little attention to improving the poorly maintained signaling system and outdated tracks.

In 1990, a packed passenger plowed into a stationary freight train in southern Pakistan, killing 210 people in the worst train disaster in Pakistani history.

.