Tuesday Mar 28, 2017
SHEIKHUPURA: At least two people were killed and 10 injured as Karachi-bound passenger train Shalimar Express collided with an oil tanker leading to a huge explosion late Monday night.
DCO Tariq Akram said the oil tanker's brakes failed moments before the train collided with it, however, contrary to the DCO's claims, DSP Khalid Gujjar said the accident occurred as the railway crossing's barrier was left opened.
The engine and five bogies of the train, including the luggage compartment, and a power plant caught fire in the accident.
The railway DS said the driver Abdul Lateef and his assistant, Abdul Hameed, lost their lives in the collision.
The passengers will now be reaching Karachi via Lahore railway station.
Federal Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique confirmed the death of the train driver. He told Geo News that the accident occurred as axle of the oil tanker malfunctioned.
"One engine and three bogies were damaged in the accident. We have dispatched a relief train from Lahore," he said. "The accident happened because of the oil tanker driver's hurriedness," he claimed." I will give further information on accident after the relief operation."
The passengers broke the window panes of the train to jump outside to save their lives. Rescue services were immediately dispatched to the site of the accident.
Meanwhile, the driver of the oil tanker and local railway personnel were immediately arrested. The injured passengers were shifted to DHQ Hospital.
According to sources, four fire-brigade vehicles doused the fire after more than two hours.
A relief engine reached the site of the accident and carried nine bogies and passengers to Lahore Tuesday morning.
According to eye-witnesses, the railway staff were not responsible for the accident. "He (a railway employee) kept shouting and even called from the wireless device when the tanker was stuck on the track," an eye-witness said.
Many of the passengers at the accident site arranged their own conveyance to reach Lahore as they were fearful of trusting the government's arrangement.
Those who were rescued and taken to Lahore showed discontent over the railway system.
A woman who got injured while trying to protect her toddler, said there should be some medical services available in trains. She had to stop her head from bleeding on her own. While talking to Geo News she said even lighting at the railway station was not sufficient that they could go around in search of help.
However, the railway minister believed district administration officials, rescue workers and fire brigade staff were on their toes to help the injured and stranded people.
Imran lashes out at railways minister
The railway minister has nothing to do with the affairs of his ministry, said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairperson Imran Khan while lashing out at Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique over the Sheikhupura accident.
The government should be ashamed of the occurrence of a series of rail-related accidents, Imran said.
He expressed grief over the loss of lives in the truck-train collision, asking what can be expected of the government that failed to manage railway crossing points.