No fewer than 28 people have been confirmed dead and several people injured after an express train derailed in southern Pakistan.
The incident occurred on Sunday morning, August 6, 2023.
Confirming the incident, the country’s railway minister, Khawaja Saad Rafique said the accident is quite big and an emergency has been declared at local hospitals struggling to deal with dozens of injured.
Accidents and derailments occur frequently on the country’s antiquated railway system, which has nearly 7,500 kilometres (4,600 miles) of track and carries more than 80 million passengers a year.
“This is quite a big accident. According to the information so far, 28 passengers have been killed and many are injured.”
Rafique said at least 1,000 passengers were aboard the Hazara Express when it derailed on a section of track where no faults had been reported.
“There can be two reasons: first that it was a mechanical fault, or the fault was created — it might be a sabotage. We will investigate it.”
The derailment happened near Sahara railway station close to Nawabshah city in the southern Sindh province.
“Eight coaches have derailed,” Mohsin Syal, a railway official, told local HUM News.
The railway minister said an emergency had been declared at local hospitals as doctors struggled to treat the injured.
There were chaotic scenes at the Nawabshah Trauma Centre as ambulances and private cars ferried the injured for treatment.
One man leapt from the back of an ambulance clutching a child, his clothes soaked in blood, while a woman moaned in pain as she was carried in on a stretcher.
“We don’t know what happened, we were just sitting inside,” said one dazed woman.
At the accident site outside Nawabshah, dozens of cars, tractors, rickshaws and motorcycles could be seen parked on a road that runs alongside the track.
Volunteers were wading through a canal that separates the road from the railway line to help, and lifting the injured to get them assistance.