The casualties from the derailment of passenger coaches of the Karachi Express late Saturday night in Sukkur district included one death and at least 30 injured, it emerged on Sunday.
The accident - the cause of which still remains a mystery - happened between Mundo Dero and Sangi railway stations around half an hour after the train left Rohri station at 1.15am on Saturday night.
Ten bogies of the 15-Up Karachi Express, which was carrying passengers from the port city to Lahore, derailed while four of them fell from the elevated track to the ground several feet deep. The bogies included AC and economy coaches.
According to Sukkur district's health authorities, most of the passengers suffered minor injuries and were discharged after first aid.
Sukkur Commissioner Shafiq Ahmed Mahesar told the media that the deceased was identified as Uzma, a resident of Landhi, Karachi. The body was handed over to her family on Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Sukkur Railways DCO Kamran Lashari said a help desk has been established to provide information to the family members of the injured passengers.
Brought to a standstill
The incident suspended the movement of trains, including the Pakistan Express, Millat Express, Sir Syed Express, Karakoram Express, Greenline, Rehman Baba, Tezgam and other trains for several hours as a large part of the track was damaged.
The trains were stopped at Rohri, Panu Aqil, Khairpur and Padedan railway stations.
Initially the passengers started rescue efforts on self help basis. They were soon assisted by the local people and Edhi volunteers followed by army and Pakistan Rangers personnel, the police and staff of Pakistan Railways.
Accident yet a mystery
Some passengers told the local media that they felt that the train had increased its speed after it left Rohri station.
Meanwhile, Railways Minister Azam Swati told the media that an impartial inquiry of the incident has been initiated, assuring that the staff found responsible for the accident will be punished.
According to the minister, some parts of the railway tracks in Sukkur division are weak besides incidents of theft are also common.
Swati said the inquiry committee will record statements of the train's driver and other staff.
On Sunday, the committee, headed by Pakistan Railways general manager Nisar Ahmed Memon, visited the site of the accident.
Also read: Train crashes into bus in Sukkur; 20 killed
"The train was fitted with the latest engine, which tracks the speed and other details at every moment," Memon told the media. "We will review the engine's data log during the investigation."
The committee will stay in Sukkur for two days to complete its probe and submit a report to the minister.
Memon also visited Civil Hospital Sukkur, where he met the injured passengers.
Many passengers of the derailed train were seen taking road transport to reach their destinations. Many others left for Lahore in the same train's bogies, which remained unaffected during the accident.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2021.