Islamabad-At least 74 passengers were killed and many others injured when an express train caught fire near the city area of Liaquatpur, officials said on Thursday.
The train, Tezgam, was on its way from Karachi to Rawalpindi, when a gas cylinder owned by passengers exploded.
The fire was caused by the explosion in a gas cylinder, confirmed the Pakistan Railway officials.
Identities of the deceased were not known . An official said at 16 bodies were charred beyond recognition.
Medics say identification of the deceased would be carried out through DNA testing .
Officials said the fire engulfed two economy class bogies and most of the passengers got up from Hydrabad.
The coach where the cylinder blasted was booked by the Taleeghi Jamaat’s men. They were boiling eggs on the gas stove to have breakfast when it exploded with a huge blast. After the explosion, the raging fire engulfed two other coaches also.
The fire tenders and other emergency teams immediately rushed to the site and carried out the rescue operation. Bodies and injured were shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ).
The firefighters were deployed to extinguish the fire. Pakistan Army contingents were also dispatched to the area to take part in rescue and relief activities. An Army Aviation Helicopter was airlifting the injured from the site of the incident.
The affected bogies have been separated from the train, said the PR official.
Aijaz Ahmad, CEO Pakistan Railways, told media that the train schedule will not be affected by the sad incident.
In a statement issued by the PM Office, the prime minister expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in the accident. PM Imran ordered to provide best possible healthcare facilities to the injured.
Khan also tendered his condolences towards the families whose loved ones died the mishap.
Sheikh Rashid has announced Rs.15 million as compensation for each passenger killed in the incident while Rs500,000 for the injured.
He said he would himself monitor the relief activities. The minster said Tableeghi Jamaat Ameer identified as Hussain, who had booked the two ill-fated coaches, remained safe in the incident.
He said Hussain has names of those who lost their lives in the incident. The minister conceded that it was “our negligence” that the passengers managed to carry the gas cylinder into the train
Prime Minister Imran Khan orders inquiry
Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered an inquiry into the train incident that killed 65 people in Rahim Yar Khan on Thursday.
Expressing sorrow over the loss of lives, the premier said on Twitter,”My condolences go to the victims’ families & prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured”.
Punjab Chief Minister cancels scheduled activities
“I have cancelled my scheduled activities and going to Liaqatpur to monitor rescue operation myself. All hospitals in the area have been put on emergency,” Usman Buzdar said on Twitter.
“Tragic accident in #RahimYarKhan is a sad and painful news. Our prayers and sympathies are with the families of victims,” he said.
More information about the incident can be obtained through helpline number 0300-8060780 while an emergency center has been established at Karachi railway station which can be contacted through telephone number 091-99213506.