MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) — A train derailed in southern Pakistan on Sunday, killing at least 30 people and injuring at least 60 others, officials said. Rescue operations were underway.
Ten carriages of a train bound for Rawalpindi derailed near the Pakistani city of Nawabshah and some overturned, trapping many passengers, chief railway official Mahmoodur Rehman Lakho said.
Local television showed rescue workers removing women, children and elderly passengers from damaged and overturned cars. Some of the injured lay on the ground calling for help while locals distributed water and food. AP photos showed derailed train cars lying over or near the tracks.
Senior Police Officer Abid Baloch said of the scene of the accident that 30 bodies had been recovered and more than 60 people were injured, some critically. He added that the death toll could rise if rescue operations continued.
Baluch said women and children were among the dead and injured.
Lakho, who is in charge of the railways in the accident area, said rescue workers took injured passengers to nearby Nawabshah People’s Hospital. He said the ill-fated Hazara Express was en route from Karachi to Rawalpindi when ten carriages went off the tracks near Sarhari station before Nawabshah.
Mohsin Sayal, another senior railway official, said train services on the main line had been halted as repair trains were sent to the scene of the accident. Sayal said the train’s passengers would be provided with alternative travel arrangements and medical care.
Railway Minister Khaja Saad Rafiq said the crash could be due to mechanical failure or the result of sabotage. He said an investigation is ongoing.
Train accidents often occur on poorly maintained railway lines in Pakistan, where colonial-era communications and signaling systems have not been modernized and safety standards are poor.