SADIQABAD: Death toll in the Sadiqabad train accident rose to 22 on Friday, while at least 83 injured were treated at different hospitals.
The accident happened early Thursday morning when the Quetta-bound Akbar Express rammed into a freight train parked at the Walhar Railway Station in Rahim Yar Khan’s Sadiqabad area, destroying at least three bogies completely and causing others to derail. Several passengers, as a result, were trapped inside and heavy machinery was called in to cut the bogies to retrieve the passengers.
The injured passengers were shifted to nearby hospitals in Sadiqabad and Rahim Yar Khan for treatment, where emergency was declared.
According to eye witness accounts, the incident happened at around 4:15am on Thursday morning when the speeding train rammed into the stationary train from behind. Police and rescue workers reached the site and began the rescue operation. However, the rescue efforts were slightly delayed as the heavy machinery had to be called in from other cities.
According to District Police Officer (DPO) Rahim Yar Khan Umar Salamat, it seemed that when the signal was changed on the track, the passenger train went on to the loop line where the goods train was parked, causing the accident.
Railway Minister Sheikh Rasheed said that a high-level inquiry will be carried out to ascertain the cause of the accident. However, he added that it apparently looked like a result of human error.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also expressed his condolences to the victims of the tragic incident. In a tweet, he said that he had asked the railway minister to take emergency steps to counter the neglect of the railways over the past decades and ensure passenger safety.
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.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) July 11, 2019
Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto strongly criticised Sheikh Rasheed for the increase in railway accidents across the country. He asked the railway minister to step down from his portfolio till the completion of inquiry.