Local residents gather near the wreckage of a bus following a collision with a train in Sukkur, Pakistan. AFP
A train crashed into a bus carrying passengers at an unmanned railway crossing in southern Pakistan, killing 19 people and injuring 28 others, a local police superintendent said Saturday.
Irfan Ali Sammu said the bus driver was at fault in the late Friday accident, and had begun crossing without assessing how close the train was. The dead and injured were on both the bus and the train, he said.
The crash took place near the district of Rohri, about 470 kilometers (290 miles) north of Karachi.
The bus was torn into three pieces, and Sammu said rescue workers faced difficulties throughout the night recovering bodies and rescuing the inured, who were strewn along a 400-meter (yard) stretch of the track.
Women and children were among the dead and injured, and were transferred to two nearby hospitals, he said. Seven people had died in hospital, and some of the injured were in critical condition.
Sammu said the passenger train, called the Pakistan Express, was en route to Rawalpindi from Karachi, the capital of Sindh province.
A higher casualty figure of 43 injured had been given late Friday by a railway official, Tariq Kolachi. Such discrepancies on casualty figures are not uncommon in the immediate aftermath of accidents in Pakistan.
Train accidents are common in Pakistan, mainly due to insufficient enforcement of safety standards, the poorly kept railroad system and automobile driver negligence.
Last November, a fire caused by a cooking gas stove swept through a train in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab Province, killing 74 people. Survivors said afterward that it took nearly 20 minutes for the train to stop amid contradictory reports about the condition of the train’s brakes.
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