Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 July 2019

Pakistan rail crash: 11 killed as passenger train hits freighter in Punjab

The accident took place at Walhar Railway Station in Rahim Yar Khan district

A passenger train rammed into a freight train in southern Pakistan on Thursday, killing at least 11 people and injuring more than 60 others.

The freight train was stationary when the speeding passenger train hit it at Walhar Railway Station near the city of Sadiqabad in Rahim Yar Khan district of Punjab province.

Rescue workers including army personnel had to cut through the twisted metal of derailed carriages to reach the injured and other survivors. Some of the injured were in critical condition, officials said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed the accident on "decades of neglect" of Pakistan's railway system.

"Have asked railways minister to take emergency steps to counter decades of neglect of railway infrastructure and ensure safety standards," Mr Khan tweeted.

Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said the cause of the crash was under investigation but human error was believed to be responsible.

"I have ordered an inquiry. Investigation will complete in two-three days," he told Pakistan's Geo Television channel.

According to a local police official quoted by Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, a signal change on the track sent the passenger train on to a loop line where the freight train was parked.

The railways minister also announced compensation of 1.5 million rupees (Dh34,700) for the dead and 500,000 rupees for the injured.

Train accidents are common in Pakistan mainly because of poor railway infrastructure and negligence of railway authorities. In June, three people were killed when two trains collided in southern Sindh province.

Updated: July 11, 2019 04:05 PM

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