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2021 Ghotki rail crash

2021 Ghotki rail crash
Details
Date7 June 2021
03:48 PKT (22:48 UTC, 6 June)[1]
LocationDaharki, Ghotki District, Sindh[2]
Coordinates28°04′22″N 69°50′34″E / 28.07278°N 69.84278°E / 28.07278; 69.84278Coordinates: 28°04′22″N 69°50′34″E / 28.07278°N 69.84278°E / 28.07278; 69.84278
CountryPakistan
LineKarachi–Peshawar Line
OperatorPakistan Railways
Incident typeDerailment and collision
Statistics
Trains2
Passengersc. 1,400[3]
Deaths50[4]
Injuredc. 120[5]

On 7 June 2021, two trains collided near Daharki, in the Ghotki District of the province of Sindh in southern Pakistan, killing at least 50 people and injuring about 120 others. An express train derailed onto the opposite track, and a second express train crashed into the first. About six to eight bogies were left "completely destroyed".

Background

The railway system in Pakistan is plagued with problems that have accumulated over decades of decay.[6][4] Due to corruption and mismanagement, the system sees frequent accidents, and a lack of investment exacerbates issues.[6][7][4][5] Although a number of governments have pledged to clean up the system, none have succeeded in doing so thus far.[6][5] Prime Minister Imran Khan has also promised to modernize the railways, but accidents have continued to occur since he assumed the prime ministership in 2018, including a train fire in 2019 that killed over 70 people.[6]

The system has seen little maintenance in recent years, and Habibur Rehman Gilani, chairman of Pakistan Railways, has stated that the tracks around the site of the accident were old and needed to be replaced.[7][5][8] A former official has stated that some railway segments are still using tracks that had been laid before the Partition in 1947.[4]

The Millat Express is a train that runs daily between Karachi, Sindh and Malakwal, Punjab. It initially ran from Karachi to Faisalabad, Punjab, but was later extended to Malakwal and then to Lalamusa, Punjab.[9][10]

Collision

On 7 June 2021, before dawn, the Millat Express, originating from Karachi, left Daharki station, in the Ghotki District of the province of Sindh in southern Pakistan, at 03:28 PKT (22:28 UTC, 6 June), heading for Sargodha in the province of Punjab.[8][6][1] Ten minutes later, at 03:38, the train derailed onto the opposite track, between the Daharki and Reti train stations, whilst most of its passengers were sleeping.[8][11][6][1][a] About a minute later and travelling in the opposite direction, the Sir Syed Express, which had left Rawalpindi bound for Karachi, crashed into the derailed train.[2][12][13][11][1][b]

The driver of the Sir Syed Express stated that the train was travelling at a normal speed when he saw the derailed Millat Express on the tracks.[4] He engaged the brakes, but was unable to stop the train in time.[4] A spokesperson for Pakistan Railways said that the Sir Syed Express did not have enough time to avoid crashing into the derailed train.[12] Roughly 1,400 people were aboard the two trains.[3]

Ghotki deputy commissioner Usman Abdullah stated that 13 or 14 bogies had derailed due to the accident, and 6 to 8 of them had been "completely destroyed".[14]

Casualties

The collision killed at least 50 people and injured about 120 more.[4][5] Four railway employees were among those killed.[2] Umar Tufail, head of the Ghotki district police, stated that up to 25 people remained trapped in the wreckage.[2]

Response

External image
image icon Rescuers moving a victim from the site[5]

Locals quickly rushed to the scene during the night to assist survivors, though darkness hindered their efforts.[8][2] As daylight broke, authorities were still attempting to bring heavy machinery to the scene.[8] The driver of the Sir Syed Express was rescued by locals two hours after the accident.[4]

Also taking part in the rescue efforts were the Pakistan Army and paramilitary Pakistan Rangers, including military doctors, paramedics, and ambulances.[8][4][2] A specialist urban search and rescue team was airlifted from Rawalpindi to assist in the operation.[4][2] Two helicopters from Multan were flown in to evacuate victims.[4] The afternoon heat also hampered rescue efforts, with temperatures as high as 44 °C (111 °F) being reported.[15]

Casualties were transported to hospitals in Daharki, Ghotki, Mirpur Mathelo, and Ubauro, where emergencies were declared.[4] Seriously injured victims were airlifted to Pano Aqil.[2]

Aftermath

Prime Minister Imran Khan stated that he was "shocked by the horrific train accident" and ordered an investigation.[16] Federal Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati stated that a "high-level inquiry" has been ordered to determine how the collision occurred, adding that it was unclear if the accident was a result of sabotage or the track's poor quality.[6]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Geo TV reported that a Pakistan Railways spokesperson stated that the accident occurred between Raiti and Obaro stations.[2]
  2. ^ The Washington Post reported that the collision happened "a little more than a minute later", while a Pakistan Railways statement made to Dawn noted that both the derailment and the collision happened at 03:38.[12][1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "At least 51 killed, 100 injured as passenger trains collide in Sindh's Ghotki district". 7 June 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hafeez, Amin; Hussain, Imtiaz; Aslam, Malik Mohammad; Farooqi, Yasir (7 June 2021). "Train crash kills over 40, injures 100 in Sindh's Ghotki". Geo News. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Train Collision in Pakistan Kills Dozens | Voice of America - English".
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Pakistan: 50 killed, over 70 injured as two passenger trains collide in Sindh's Ghotki". 7 June 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Dozens killed as two trains collide in southern Pakistan". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Masood, Salman (7 June 2021). "2 Trains Collide in Pakistan, Killing at Least 32". The New York Times. ISSN 1553-8095. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Pakistan: At least 33 killed in train crash in Sindh province". Deutsche Welle. 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Tanveer, Asim; Ahmed, Munir (7 June 2021). "Officials: 2 trains collide in southern Pakistan, killing 38". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  9. ^ "KARACHI: Millat train service for Faisalabad inaugurated". Dawn. 11 November 2004. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  10. ^ "Pakistan Railway minister extends train route". The News. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  11. ^ a b Peshimam, Gibran (7 June 2021). "Pakistani train smashes into derailed carriages; 36 killed". Reuters. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  12. ^ a b c Khan, Haq Nawaz; Hussain, Shaiq (7 June 2021). "Death toll rises to 40 in Pakistan train crash, as rescuers try to free survivors". The Washington Post. Peshawar, Pakistan. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  13. ^ "Pakistan train accident: 36 killed in Sindh collision". BBC News. 7 June 2021.
  14. ^ "36 killed, scores injured as two passenger trains collide in Pakistan's Sindh". The Tribune. Karachi. 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  15. ^ Saifi, Sophia (7 June 2021). "Dozens killed in train crash in southern Pakistan". Islamabad. CNN. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  16. ^ "Ghotki train accident: 'Shocked' PM Imran Khan orders comprehensive investigation". Geo News. 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.

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