Pakistan train jumps tracks; about 125 dead
March 3, 1997
Web posted at: 9:48 a.m. EST (1448 GMT)
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- A runaway express train crashed
in Pakistan's Punjab province early Monday, killing about 125 people and injuring more than 150. Emergency workers said about 20 of the dead were children.
The accident occurred just outside Khaniwal, about 240 miles (400 km) southeast of Islamabad. Railway officials said the 17-car Zulfikar Express failed to stop at a junction, apparently because of brake failure, to make way for a train traveling in the opposite direction.
Controllers diverted the train to a dead end track for
runaway trains, where it smashed into the buffers at the end
of the line, derailing the engine and five coaches. Witnesses
said two of the coaches were completely crushed.
"The scene is horrific," said Mohammed Zubair, a rescue
worker in Khaniwal.
Shamshed Iqbal, another rescue worker, said that, hours after the accident, many of the
victims were still trapped in the wrecked train, and that
rescuers could "hear the people screaming for help.
Muhammad Ashiq, a survivor who had been on his way to a
wedding on the train, lost seven members of his family in the
Pakistan's newly elected prime minister,
the scene of the accident, and the hospital where many of the
injured were transported.
Residents of Khaniwal rushed to the hospital to donate blood
after officials appealed over loudspeakers at the city's
At the time of the accident, the train had just left Khaniwal
on its way to Karachi, on the Arabian Sea.
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