Thirty-five passengers were killed and over 60 sustained injuries, some of them seriously, when two trains collided near Raiti railway station in Ghotki district in Sukkur railway division in Sind province of Pakistan at about 3:30 early in the morning of Monday (June 7).
The mishap took place when 13 bogies of Karachi-Sargodha Millat Express got derailed and one of them fell on the adjacent rail track. Within two minutes, the Rawalpindi-Karachi Sir Syed Express coming from the opposite direction rammed into the derailed coaches of the Millat Express.
According to the railway authorities Millat Express suffered more casualties than Sir Syed Express.
The safety record of Pakistan Railways is far from satisfactory. A senior officer had reportedly sent a report to the higher authorities a month back stating that the condition of tracks was not good at 13 places in Sukkur division. The latest accident site was one of them.
Railway, Army, Rangers and civil personnel rushed to the spot to carry out rescue operation. But fellow passengers and locals were the first who came to the rescue of the victims. At the time of the accident, most of the passengers of both the trains were sleeping.
Eye-witnesses told the media that for reason not yet known the driver of the Millat Express applied sudden brake leading to the derailment. One of the bogies fell on the Down track.
The driver of the Sir Syed Express, Ejaz Ahmed was quoted in Geo News as saying that he and his assistant Iftikhar were alert and applied emergency brake yet could not stop the train. Had the Sir Syed Express been running in full speed the casualties would have been much higher.
Train services on both the tracks were suspended for several hours after the accident.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan condoled the tragedy and it was on his instruction that the railway minister Azam Khan Swati flew to the accident-spot.