MULTAN: At least five people were killed and over 120 injuredon Thursday morning when Karachi-bound Awam Express collided with a freight train which had stopped after running over a man crossing the railway track near Bucch railway station in Sher Shah, Multan.
According to Multan District Coordination Officer (DCO) Nadir Chattha, the incident took place when a freight train overran a man some 25km away from Multan and in the meantime Awam Express, coming from Peshawar using the same rail line, collided with the carriages of the train.
A three-day public holiday for the Muslim festival of Eid ul-Azha ended on Wednesday following which many people are returning from their family homes to the cities where they work.
As a result of the collision, four bogies of Awam Express overturned while the engine and the power van were also left completely wrecked.
TV footage showed rescue officials working around crumpled and overturned bogies in the darkness. Chatta said several trapped passengers had to be extracted from their carriages.
Hospital Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr Ashiq has appealed for blood donations as several people were in serious condition.
Local state-run rescue service spokesman, Abdul Jabbar told the media that the number of injured exceeded 120.
Railway official Saima Bashir blamed the accident on the passenger train driver, saying he failed to heed a red signal that went up after the goods train had stopped.
The Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif has directed the concerned authorities to provide best medical treatment to the injured of the train accident near Multan.
In his message, he sympathised and expressed condolence with the bereaved families. He prayed for early recovery of the injured.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has formed a committee to investigate what he termed as a tragic incident on Eid holidays.
The committee, led by a Federal Government Inspector Railways Muhammad Arshad, would find out the reasons that caused the incident, he said on Thursdaywhile expressing solidarity with the victims’ families.
The government has created information cells at city, cantt and Hyderabad stations where inquires could be made.
Pakistan Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has ordered PR administration to produce complete investigation report of the accident within 72 hours.
He expressed his grief over the demise of precious lives and several injured, and said that it was responsibility of the PR administration to transport injured passengers to their destinations after their treatment.
He also directed the administration to carry bodies of unfortunate passengers to their homes.
He said that passengers of Karachi bound train Awam Express (the train which collided) have been set off to Karachi via Khanewal.
Restoration operation is being carried out with the support of local administration and which will soon be completed,” he added.
The PR minister is himself monitoring the restoration operation which would be completed soon.
Meanwhile, Punjab Governor Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana and Chief Minister Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif have also expressed deep sorrow and grief over the loss of precious lives in train accident at Sher Shah Junction near Multan.