At least 20 people were killed and more than 100 hundred injured on Tuesday when a train derailed in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province, administration and railway officials said.
The accident occurred near Quetta city, the provincial capital, after the train’s brakes failed as it sped down the side of a mountain, officials told AFP.
The dead included the driver and the assistant driver of the train which derailed in Bolan district when it was en route to Rawalpindi from Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan province, Geo Tv reported.
The incident happened because the brakes of the train failed, confirmed Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani and Faiz Bugti, a senior railways department official, and Tarek Zehri, head of local community police.
Pakistani TV footage showed several badly damaged train cars and rescuers pulling the injured from the wreckage. In a statement, the military said it dispatched a helicopter and ambulances to transport the injured to hospitals.
A military spokesman in Quetta said that 26 seriously injured passengers were airlifted to hospital in two helicopters.
“Four carriages of a Rawalpindi-bound train which left Quetta railway station were derailed near Abegum area of Bolan district, some 75 kilometres from Quetta city,” Akbar Hussain Durrani, Baluchistan home secretary, told AFP.
The army has joined a rescue and relief operation and will use heavy machinery to free victims, while a quick response force from the paramilitary Frontier Corps has also been deployed, authorities said.
TV footage showed rescuers trying to pull the injured from the derailed cars.
Railway officials said the train was carrying around 300 passengers. “Among the dead so far confirmed, five are passengers, two drivers of the train and two members of the railway police,” Durrani said. Train accidents are common in Pakistan, which inherited thousands of miles of track and trains from former colonial power, Britain.
The railways have seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and lack of investment. In July, at least 17 people were killed when a special military train fell into a canal after a bridge partially collapsed.
Source: Gulf News