21 killed, 79 injured in Sadiqabad train accident
BAHAWALPUR: Over 21 people including eight women and the driver of the locomotive were killed and 79 other among them women and children were injured when Quetta-bound Akbar Express train hit a freight train parked on loop line track at Walhar Railway station in Rahimyar Khan on Thursday morning.
District Police Officer, Rahimyar Khan, Umar Salam said that the train accident occurred at about 4:30 am on Thursday morning. He said that the railway operation system fault and human error might be cause behind the horrible accident. “Akbar Express Train which was on main track suddenly went on loop line track at Walhar railway station while a goods train was already parked on loop line track,” he said, adding that resultantly, Akbar Express struck again cargo train.
He said that 11 passengers including eight women and the driver of the locomotive were killed on the spot while 79 others among them women and children were injured. The DPO said that the condition of 12 injured was very serious. He said that dead and injured were shifted to Tehsil Headquarters Hospital (THQ) Sadiqabad and Sheikh Zayed Hospital Rahimyar Khan.
ASP Sadiqabad, Dr Hafiz-Ur-Rehman Bugti who along with police and rescue teams immediately reached the scene soon after receiving information about the incident, said that the locomotive and four bogies were completely destroyed. He said that hydraulic cutters were brought and used to cut the damaged bogies to retrieve dead bodies and injured commuters.
He said that Pak Army personnel also reached the site and participated in rescue and relief operation. “Other organizations including Rahimyar Khan district police, Punjab Emergency Service Rescue 1122 and Civil Defence also took part in the rescue operation,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner, Rahimyar Khan, Jameel Ahmed Jameel said that ambulances were called from all major hospitals of the district who transported dead and injured to hospital. He said that 12 critically injured were shifted from THQ Sadiqabad to Sheikh Zayed Hospital Rahimyar Khan. “Emergency was declared at all major hospitals of Rahimyar Khan,” he said.
He said that relief trains of Pakistan Railways reached the area and removed six bogies from the damaged train which later attached with another locomotive were sent to Quetta.
The officials of Pakistan Railways said that apparently, it was human error behind the train accident.
“The change of signal might be cause of going of Akbar Express train from main track to loop line track,” they said. They, however, said that a high level team had been investigating the incident.