At least 28 people were killed and many injured when an express train derailed in southern Pakistan.
The accident occurred near the Sahara railway station near the city of Nawabshah in southern Sindh province. Eight train cars derailed.
Train accidents and derailments occur frequently due to the country’s aging railway system, which has almost 7,500 km of track and carries more than 80 million passengers a year.
Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique says that there were at least 1,000 passengers on board the Hazara Express when it derailed on a section of the railway line where no faults had been previously reported.
According to Rafique, the derailment could have occurred for two reasons: a mechanical error or an error caused by sabotage.
“The department will investigate the cause,” he confirms.
A state of emergency has been declared at the Nawabshah trauma centre, with doctors struggling to treat the dozens of injured. The injured were rushed to the center in large numbers by ambulances and private cars.
A man jumped from the back of an ambulance and grabbed a child, his clothes soaked in blood, while a woman moaned in pain as she was carried on a stretcher into the center.
“We don’t know what happened, we just sat inside,” said one dazed woman.
At the accident site outside Nawabshah, there were dozens of cars, tractors, rickshaws and motorcycles parked on a road that runs alongside the railway tracks.
Volunteers walked through a canal separating the road from the railway line to help the injured.
Some passenger compartments were still upright, albeit off the rail, while others were lying on their sides.
Senior police officer Younis Chandio said some passengers remained trapped in one carriage.
Ijaz Shah, a provincial railway official, confirmed that an emergency train had been sent to the site.
The Hazara Express is a daily passenger train that leaves the port city of Karachi in the south and takes about 33 hours to reach Havelian in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 1,600 km to the north.
In June 2021, two trains collided near Daharki in Sindh, killing at least 65 people and injuring around 150 others.
In that accident, an express train derailed on the opposite track, and a second passenger train crashed into the wreckage about a minute later.
At least 75 passengers were burnt to death in October 2019 when a fire broke out on board the Tezgam express train, while a two-train collision at Ghotki claimed more than 100 lives in 2005.