Islamabad: A tragic incident unfolded on Sunday as nearly 10 carriages of the Hazara Express derailed near Sahara Railway Station, situated 275 kilometers away from Karachi. This devastating derailment resulted in the loss of at least 20 lives, while around 80 individuals’ sustained injuries, according to reports.
The injured victims were swiftly transported to the People’s Medical Hospital in Nawabshah, Sindh. Authorities express concerns that the toll could rise further as the ill-fated train was reportedly carrying a substantial number of passengers.
In response to the catastrophe, railway operations connecting the interior districts of Sindh have been temporarily halted. Officials from the Railway Department anticipate that restoring operations may take up to 18 hours, as the painstaking process of removing the derailed carriages from the tracks demands time. At present, the precise cause behind this tragic derailment remains unknown.
Sukkur Mahmoodur Rahman, Railways Divisional Superintendent, confirmed that approximately 10 carriages were involved in the derailment. However, further details about the incident are still being gathered.
Efforts to rescue stranded passengers from the affected carriages have been in full swing, led by dedicated police and local administration personnel. The gravity of the situation prompted the imposition of an emergency in nearby hospitals. Additionally, a relief train is en route from Loco Shed Rohri and is expected to arrive at the crash site within three hours. Unfortunately, due to the accident, traffic along the uptrack remains suspended.
The train, comprised of 17 carriages with a capacity of 950 passengers in economy class and 72 in air-conditioned standard coaches, veered off course while en route from Karachi to Havelian, passing through district Sanghar.
In a display of unity and swift action, both the Pakistan Army and Rangers were called upon to join the rescue operations. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir issued special instructions for army personnel to participate in the relief activities. Army aviation helicopters were dispatched, along with additional troops from Hyderabad and Sakrand. These military efforts aim to provide food and support for the rescued passengers. Paramilitary forces, including the Rangers, have also been mobilized for rescue work, as directed by Sindh Rangers Director General (DG) Major General Azhar Waqas.
Medical assistance and nourishment have been made available at the accident site, with ambulances and relief efforts in full swing. It is lamentable that train accidents are not uncommon in Pakistan, despite repeated occurrences. Authorities’ inability to prevent such incidents through appropriate measures has been noted. Notably, this locomotive narrowly escaped a severe accident in March, underscoring the importance of comprehensive safety measures.
This tragedy unfolded a mere day after another incident involving the derailment of three coaches of the Allama Iqbal Express traveling from Karachi to Sialkot, fortunately causing no injuries.