21 dead as trains collide near Karachi's Landhi Railway Station

Published: November 3, 2016
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Bystanders watch the rescue work at the site of a collision between two trains in Karachi on November 3, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Bystanders watch the rescue work at the site of a collision between two trains in Karachi on November 3, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Two passenger trains collided Thursday morning near Karachi’s Landhi Railway Station, killing at least 20 people and injuring scores of others.

The collision occurred between Zakaria Express and Fareed Express. At least three carriages were damaged in the collision which, initial reports revealed, occurred due to faulty signals.

Witnesses described watching in horror as one train sped into the city’s Quaidabad Railway Station and rammed into the second, which was parked there, with the roar of the crash swiftly followed by the screams of people trapped inside.

Officials said rescuers armed with metal-cutting equipment and heavy cranes had managed to pull all the passengers from the twisted wreckage.

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“No-one is left inside,” Ijaz Ahmad Khan, a Karachi administrative official, told reporters at the scene.

Dr Kaleem Shaikh, the senior medical officer at Jinnah Hospital, put the death toll at 21 with 65 wounded.

Up to 60 people had been injured in the crash, said Nasir Nazeer, an administrative official in Karachi. He said an inquiry has been launched into the cause of the accident.

Rescuers workers use heavy machinery on the car of a train which crashed outside Karachi. PHOTO: REUTERS

A senior administration official in Karachi said there could be up to 1,000 passengers on board the trains when the accident occurred.

Factory worker Ajab Gul said he was on his way to work when the accident occurred. “Suddenly another train came speeding in and smashed into the parked train,” he said, describing the sound of the crash as “huge”. “There were clouds of dust and smog. After that we heard screams. People inside the collided trains were screaming and crying.”

All train traffic between Karachi and the rest of the country suspended after the collision.

Bilawal Bhutto visits victims of train collision at Jinnah hospital

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari visited the victims of the accident at Jinnah hospital on Thursday. “No one has control over such accidents but the government should ensure that all security measures to avoid such incidents in future.”

Expressing grief over the loss of lives, Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said, “I am directly in contact with DS Railway, supervising the emergency activities. Really sad over loss of precious souls.”

Addressing the media, Rafique said the collision occurred due to the negligence of the driver and assistant driver of the train coming from behind. “The drivers first ignored the yellow signal and then the red signal.” He announced a compensation of Rs1.5 million for the family of each killed and Rs0.3 million for the injured.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also expressed grief over the incident.

Train accidents are common in Pakistan, which inherited thousands of kilometres of track and trains from former colonial power, Britain.

Train crash kills five in Pattoki

In September, at least four people were killed and more than 100 injured when two trains collided near Multan. The accident occurred when a Karachi-bound Awami Express passenger train rammed into a goods train which had stopped after running over a man crossing the railway track.

The railways have seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and lack of investment.

Last November, 19 people were killed in Balochistan after a train’s brakes failed and it sped down the side of a mountain.

In July 2015, at least 17 people were killed when a special military train fell into a canal after a bridge partially collapsed.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • TSS
    Nov 3, 2016 - 9:22AM

    Kh. Saad Rafiq , our esteemed Railways Minister is still probably busy tweeting and counting the number of attendees in Imran Khan’s jalsa !
    It’s been 3 years for the current minister and the dismal performance of PR continues.
    Pathetic attitude of the rulers, and then they expect there shouldn’t be any revolt !Recommend

  • ABC
    Nov 3, 2016 - 10:39AM

    It is more important to listen and reply to opposition Jalsas than looking at the real job of Railway Minister. Shame on you!!!Recommend

  • Anjum
    Nov 3, 2016 - 11:52AM

    All ministers of Govt busy how to tackle Imran Khan and preventing royal family as it is their foremost responsibility and forget what is their actual duty. This is PML n Recommend

  • Parvez
    Nov 3, 2016 - 11:58AM

    Will the Railways Minister have the moral courage …… to resign ?Recommend

  • RIZWAN
    Nov 3, 2016 - 12:11PM

    LAHORE

    Dear Railway minister sahib you are too busy doing politics issuing useless statements following PTI .Please look in to the Ministry of which you are in charge of .Recommend

  • Afzaal Ansari
    Nov 3, 2016 - 1:40PM

    Massive lives has been gone with this passenger train collusion due to erratic signals. this is routine of collapse of trains with each other due to this faulty signals. Paradigm change in the current signals system could save future lives.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Nov 3, 2016 - 1:40PM

    @Parvez:
    You know the answer to that question. No one in Pakistan has that sense of propriety to step down when the situation warrants. They are however experts in finding scapegoats and blame-gaming.Recommend

  • RANA ghulam murtaza
    Nov 3, 2016 - 1:48PM

    How is responsible will be punished. Recommend

  • goiyakka
    Nov 3, 2016 - 1:59PM

    how does anyone not see a huge train parked right in front of ones eyes !! how drunk or blind was the motorman ? Recommend

  • boomerang
    Nov 3, 2016 - 4:51PM

    Will the Real Railway Minister PLEASE STAND UP ? Recommend

  • Malik Shahid Karim
    Nov 3, 2016 - 5:45PM

    Nothing works in this god forsaken country. Every year we have news like this but nothing changes. We are so obsessed with religion that we don’t care about the ABCs of how to run this country. Recommend

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