At least 16 passengers were killed and more than 80 others injured on Thursday when an express train rammed into a stationery freight train in Pakistan’s Punjab province, officials said. The Quetta-bound Akbar Express collided with the stationary freight train at the Walhar Railway Station in Sadiqabad Tehsil of the province, Dawn quoted officials as saying.
The freight train was on the loop line when the speeding passenger train instead of running on the main line entered the wrong track. “Sixteen people have been killed and over 80 others injured in the collision between two trains,” according to a police official.
All passengers, onboard the train headed to Quetta, have been removed from the train and track clearance operations were underway, Deputy Commissioner Rahim Yar Khan, Jamil Ahmed Jamil said. He said that heavy machinery was being used to rescue passengers who were stuck in the train, adding that they were being provided with food and water.
Authorities said the Pakistan Army was also taking part in the rescue efforts. The engine of the Akbar Express was completely destroyed in the accident while three compartments were also damaged, police said. The injured have been shifted to nearby hospitals of Sadiqabad and Rahim Yar Khan for treatment where an emergency has been declared, Geo news reported.
A child and a man have been rescued from the train, the report said. Officials say they fear more casualties in the accident. Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi have expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives in the train accident.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Khan said he has asked Railways Minister to take emergency steps to counter decades of neglect of railway infrastructure and ensure safety standards.
Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has ordered an investigation into the accident. He said that the accident appeared to have occurred due to human negligence. He announced compensation of Rs 15 lakh for the families of the deceased and Rs 5 lakh each for the injured, Dawn reported.