Scores killed in Pakistan train crash

Pakistani villagers and rescuers gather
around the wreckage of three trains
following a crash in Ghotki.
Photograph: Aamir Qureshi/Getty

Wednesday July 13, 2005

Three passenger trains collided in southern Pakistan early this morning, killing over 100 people, local police said.

The accident occurred at about 4am local time when a train sitting in a station near Ghotki, in the southern Sindh province, was hit by a second train. The collision caused several carriages to derail and spill over onto another track, where they were struck by the third train, causing further derailment.

"So far, we have taken out at least 120 bodies," police official Shabbir Billo told Reuters from near the scene of the crash.

"It is a very gruesome situation," police official Aga Mohammed Tahir told Associated Press.

"Rescue workers have started to pull the dead and injured out. There were many people inside and there are a lot of casualties."

Mr Tahir said that at least 13 train carriages derailed, and that the injured were being taken in ambulances and cars to area hospitals.

"They are being pulled out every minute," he said.

Ghotki is about 370 miles north-east of Karachi, in the remote Sindh province. Aziz said rescue teams had been dispatched, but that it could take some time for them to reach the site in force.

A second railway official, Sajjad Ahmed, said the train in the station was the Quetta Express, which was bringing passengers from the eastern city of Lahore to the south-western city of Quetta when it developed a technical problem.

Technicians were working on the train when it was hit by the Karachi Express, a night-coach passenger train from Lahore to the southern port city of Karachi.

The impact pushed three carriages onto an adjacent track, and they in turn were hit by the oncoming Tezgam Express, which was bringing people from Karachi north to Rawalpindi, near the capital.

Pakistan's railways are antiquated, and dozens of people have been killed in train accidents in recent years.

On March 5, five people were killed and 25 injured when a passenger train derailed in eastern Punjab province. In September 2003 a train hit packed bus in central Pakistan, killing at least 27 people and injuring six others.

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