17 killed, 83 injured as two trains collide in Sadiqabad

RAHIM YAR KHAN: At least 17 passengers were killed and 83 injured when a passenger train collided with a freight train near Sadiqabad on Thursday.

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Akbar Express traveling from Lahore to Quetta collided with a stationary freight train at the Walhar Railway Station in Sadiqabad Tehsil of Punjab province, according to details.

The passenger train, instead of running on its mainline, went on the wrong track where it collided with the freight train which was standing on the loop line.  The engine of the passenger train was completely destroyed while three to four bogies of the passenger train derailed.

The deceased include one woman and eight men, while the injured include nine women and 11 children, according to the District Police Officer (DPO) Rahim Yar Khan Umar Salamat. The injured have been shifted to Jinnah and Shaikh Zayed Hospital for immediate medical attention. Emergency has been declared at the hospitals.

A child and a man have been rescued from the train so far while the DPO further said that the rescue operation is underway and hydraulic cutters have been called at the site to retrieve dead bodies. A control room helpline has also been established.

More casualties are feared, said the officers.

According to the eyewitness of the incident, the collision occurred at 4 am when most of the passengers were sleeping. Passengers were rescued on the self-help basis from the bogies and rescue teams arrived at the scene of the accident till not much later.

Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in the accident and said the accident occurred due to negligence.

The train accident occurred due to human error and said he has ordered an investigation into the incident, added the minister. He announced to provide financial assistance to the families of the deceased and the injured; Rs1.5 million will be given as compensation to the families of those killed in the accident, while Rs500,000 will be given to those critically injured.

Rs200,000 will be given to those with minor injuries.

Prime Minister Imran Khan offered condolences to the families of the victims of the train accident today in Rahim Yar Khan, asking the Railways minister to take emergency steps to ensure safety standards.

“Saddened to learn of train accident in Sadiqabad. My condolences to the victims families and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. Have asked Railways Minister to take emergency steps to counter decades of neglect of railway infrastructure & ensure safety standards,” said the Premier in a tweet.

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