20 killed as trains collide near Karachi's Landhi Railway Station

Source:  Tribune Published in Current Affairs on Thursday, November 03, 2016

KARACHI: Two passenger trains collided Thursday morning near Karachi’s Landhi Railway Station, killing at least 20 people and injuring 45 others, hospital officials said.

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.

“45 injured have been brought to the hospital,” Dr Seemi Jamali, Head of Emergency Department at Jinnah Hospital said, adding that five of them are in critical condition.

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Rangers and rescue teams have arrived at the site and injured are being shifted to nearby hospitals for immediate treatment. Television footage showed mangled and overturned carriages,
and local media reported rescuers were working to free people
trapped in the wreckage.

A senior administration official in Karachi said there could be up to 1,000 passengers on board the trains when the accident occurred. “At the moment, we don’t know the exact number of casualties but there could be up to 1,000 passengers in both trains,” Nasir Nazeer, District Coordination Officer (DCO) in Karachi told AFP.

“We have sent heavy machinery and cutting equipment to remove the overturned cars from the track and rescue the trapped passengers inside the coaches,” he said.

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.”

Pakistan’s colonial-era railway network has fallen into
disrepair in recent decades due to chronic under-investment and
poor maintenance.

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.

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TV footage showed rescue officials working around crumpled and overturned bogies in the darkness. Chatta said several trapped passengers had to be extracted from their carriages.

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

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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