Paramilitary soldiers and rescue workers move a body of a man from the site following a collision between two trains in Ghotki, Pakistan, on Monday. Reuters
Tariq Butt, Correspondent / Agencies
Pakistan Railways officials said Tuesday that at least 63 people had died in a double train accident in a remote part of southern Sindh province a day earlier.
They issued two lists of the dead that included 12 unidentified people from the accident, which saw a north-bound passenger train derail early Monday before being struck minutes later by an express coming from the opposite direction.
More than 100 other people were injured. Cries for help pierced the night as passengers climbed out of overturned or crushed rail cars. The pleas continued to echo throughout the day at the scene in the district of Ghotki, in the southern province of Sindh.
Soldiers and volunteers work at the site of a train collision in Ghotki district. AFP
The Millat Express, on its way to Lahore, and Sir Syed Express, going to Karachi, collided near the Mirpur Mathelo railway station.
A Pakistan Railway (PR) spokesman said the collision occurred between Raiti and Obaro railway stations. He added that the accident occurred after the coaches of one train, the Millat Express, derailed and fell across the opposite track, where they were hit by another train, the Sir Syed Express.
People gather near dead bodies at the site of a collision between two trains in Ghotki. Reuters
Tufail expected the toll to shoot up as there were still mangled train compartments that rescuers had not been able to access despite the passage of hours after the accident.
The Pakistan army and the paramilitary Rangers also reached the incident site and are taking part in the rescue efforts.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said military doctors and ambulances have been dispatched from Pano Aqil and are participating in the rescue operation. Army engineers and specialist teams of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) are being airlifted from Rawalpindi to aid the efforts.
The ISPR added that two helicopters are being flown from Multan for casualty evacuations while relief goods are being prepared and will be dispatched “shortly.”
Soldiers and volunteers work at the site of a train collision in the Ghotki district. AP
The Ghotki deputy commissioner said that 13 to 14 bogies had derailed in the incident while six to eight were completely destroyed. He said that citizens that were still trapped were a challenge for rescue officials.
He said that a relief train had departed from Rohri, adding that the local administration and rescue teams were present on the site of the accident. However, the official refused to give a timeframe for the rescue operation.
"This is a challenging task. It will take time to use heavy machinery to free citizens still trapped," he said. He said that an emergency had been declared in the district and all doctors and paramedical staff had been put on call. "We are also establishing a medical camp to provide medical aid to citizens.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was shocked by the 'horrific accident' and added that he had asked the railways minister to reach the site of the accident. He also said he was ordering a comprehensive investigation into railway safety faultlines.
The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation offered its heartfelt condolences and extended its sympathies to the Government of Pakistan and to the families of the victims of this tragedy.
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