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December 21, 2007

Death toll from Pakistan train crash officially lowered to 40

Death toll from Pakistan train crash officially lowered to 40

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Pakistan
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The official death toll for a recent derailment in Pakistan has been lowered from 58 deaths to 40. The Karachi Express from Karachi to Lahore left the rails at high speed in Sindh province.

At least 115 passengers were injured in the crash, of which ten remain in hospital. Most of them were returning from the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha.

Fourteen of the sixteen cars that comprised the service were derailed. The force of the accident, which occurred near Mehrabpur, about 250 miles from Karachi, was such that two were completely destroyed and the rails were severely damaged.

Junaid Qureshi, director of operations at state owned Pakistan Railways, who operate the service, said that the official figures are now 40 dead and 269 injured. Most of the casualties were in the two carriages that were destroyed. “The position now is that there are 40 dead,” Qureshi told reporters, adding that the original figure appeared sourceless. “I do not know where they (the officials) got it from.”

He went on to say that of the 40 deceased, 39 bodies had been returned to families, whilst one body remained unidentified and is currently awaiting being claimed at a morgue in Karachi.

However, there are still conflicting reports about the number of casualties. Representatives of the Edhi Foundation, Pakistan’s largest private emergency service provider, which attended the scene, said that the foundation had removed 45 bodies from the wreckage, while Mohammed Shafi Toor, head of the state-owned hospital at Mehrabpur, put the figures at 46 dead and 290 injured.

Meanwhile, an official inquiry has been launched. “The inquiry is underway and will be completed within the next five days,” said Pakistan Railways Secretary Ghiasuddin, continuing to say that the panel conducting the investigation will make recommendations as a result of it’s findings. It is believed the track failed due to extremely low temperatures.

Officials have re-opened the line having repaired the damaged section.



Related news

  • “Pakistani train derailment kills at least 56” — Wikinews, December 19, 2007

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Mehrabpur train derailment



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December 19, 2007

Pakistani train derailment kills at least 56

Pakistani train derailment kills at least 56

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pakistan
Other stories from Pakistan
…More articles here
Location of Pakistan

A map showing the location of Pakistan

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Pakistan, see the Pakistan Portal
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Early this morning, an express passenger train (carrying about 700 passengers) derailed in Pakistan, leaving at least 56 dead and 150 more injured. At least ten of the carriages that comprised the service between Karachi and Lahore left the track and fell down an embankment, ripping them apart.

The disaster occurred some 250 miles north of Karachi at 2:00 a.m. PST (UTC+5). Pakistan Railways says it appears the derailment, which sent carriages hurtling into a waterlogged field adjacent to the track, was caused by extreme cold, which in turn caused a welded joint in the track to contract and split. Brigadier Nazhar Jamil, head of an army rescue team presently on-site, said he believed another possible cause was excessive speed in combination with inadequate maintenance.

State-run PTV said that Asad Saeed, General Manager of Pakistan Railways, had told them “A welded track joint broke. Tracks shrink in winter. There are many forces on the track and sometimes this joint breaks.” He went on to rule out terrorist involvement and point out that the tracks are old and the government is midway through a programme to replace them. He said other services were not affected.

Cquote1.svg A welded track joint broke. Tracks shrink in winter. There are many forces on the track and sometimes this joint breaks. Cquote2.svg

—Asad Saeed, Pakistan Railways

The violence of the crash ripped carriages apart, leaving wreckage strewn across the surrounding area. A segment of one of the rails was torn up, and the engine came to rest approximately a mile away from the initial site of the derailment. Sources vary on how many carriages were involved. The Times says ten carriages derailed and does not state the total number in the train, while Sky News reports that twelve of the train’s sixteen carriages derailed and Xinhua gives the numbers as fifteen cars of a seventeen-car train. Reports on passenger numbers also vary, with the train carrying between 700 and 900 passengers, mostly returning from the Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Adha.

Jamil told reporters that many lives were saved by local residents, who rushed many of the wounded to hospital using rickshaws, scooters and donkey-drawn carts. Army engineers had to free the last survivors from the wreckage using two rail-mounted cranes and cutting equipment. One of the last to be rescued was a three-year-old girl, who’s foot was seriously injured.

Police and soldiers carried the wounded to waiting ambulances, which rushed them to three nearby hospitals.

President Pervez Musharraf has ordered an immediate inquiry, which will be conducted by Pakistan Railways. The inquiry will examine whether any responsibility must be taken by any of those involved, as well as ways of preventing another similar disaster from taking place.

Fatal train accidents occur with some regularity in Pakistan, a problem frequently exacerbated by overcrowding. This is the worst accident since the Ghotki rail crash in 2005. Over 120 people were then killed as the Karachi Express—the same service as in this accident—hit a train that had broken down from behind; the wreckage from both these trains was then struck by a third passenger express. The driver of the Karachi Express had misread a signal.



Related news

  • “Train crash in southern Pakistan kills more than a hundred” — Wikinews, July 13, 2005

Sources

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject:
Mehrabpur train derailment
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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

July 13, 2005

Train crash in southern Pakistan kills more than a hundred

Filed under: Archived,Pakistan,Pakistan Railways,Public domain articles — admin @ 5:00 am

Train crash in southern Pakistan kills more than a hundred

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Location of Ghotki in the Sindh province

At least 127 died early this morning when three trains crashed in a chain reaction in a station near Ghotki in the Sindh Province of Pakistan. It is feared the fatality count may rise as high as 200-300 people. Around 800 others were injured, many of them seriously. Officials for Pakistan Railways told AP that the accident happened at about 4am local time (2300 UTC Tuesday) when an express train from Lahore bound for Karachi crashed into another train which had broke down earlier and was sitting at the station. Almost immediately after, a third train slammed into carriages derailed from the first crash. In total some 13 cars derailed. The incident is blamed on the driver of the Karachi train who reportedly misread a signal.

The line between Lahore and Karachi, the nation’s biggest cities, is among the busiest in the country.

It is Pakistan’s worst train accident since December 1989 when a crash near Sangi, about 35 miles (56 kilometres) from today’s crash site, killed over 400 people.

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