At least four people were killed and five injured when four coaches of a Rawalpindi-bound train derailed on Thursday.
The train was traveling to Rawalpindi from Lahore. The accident happened around 5.30pm near Gondalanwala Chowk on GT Road on the outskirts of Gujranwala.
Several people were trapped as the bogies ran off track. Witnesses said the train had crushed many push carts and bicycles parked along the track.
Bodies of two women were recovered from the site. One of them was identified as Zareena Bibi while identity of the second woman could not be ascertained. Bodies of a man and a child were also spotted but had not been salvaged by the time this report was filed.
Efforts to retrieve five others were underway.
The injured people were identified as Abid, Tariq, Irfan, Gulfam and Kulsoom. They were shifted to District Headquarters Hospital in critical condition. Later, doctors said they were out of danger.
Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique constituted an inquiry committee and demanded a report by Friday.
He said, “Initial reports suggest the drivers of the train were responsible for accident.”
He said he was personally supervising the rescue efforts.
Railways Divisional Superintendent Humayuon Basheer said the accident happened because the driver, Muhammad Riaz and his assistant Muhammad Shahid, diverted the train on the loop line without receiving the green signal and they did not apply the brakes in time.
He said that they had failed to stop the train at its designated point to give way to Awami Express coming from Rawalpindi and the rail car had crashed into an electric pole.
The driver and his assistant went missing after the accident.
Basheer said all the passengers on board the train remained safe in the accident. He said that following an initial report of the incident, the Railways general manager had suspended the driver and his assistant.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2013.