A Pakistani train crashed into derailed wagons from another train on Monday, killing at least 33 people, government officials said in the latest crash to highlight the dangerous condition of a more than 150-year-old rail system.
The death toll is likely to rise as rescuers have tried to reach people trapped in several distorted compartments scattered on the rails in southern Sindh province.
A Pakistani railway spokesman said at least 33 bodies had been taken to hospitals, including two railway employees. More than 100 people were injured, he told Reuters.
An early passenger on the first train told of the double disaster.
“We felt thrown out,” the man, who had his head bandaged, told a hospital TV reporter, talking about the initial derailment of his train.
“Then the second train hit our train, which caused more damage,” he said.
A Pakistani Railways spokesman said several carriages from the first train had fallen over the adjacent track after derailing in the Gothic area.
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The second train coming from the other direction then crashed into them, he added.
“The driver tried to apply the emergency brakes, but the locomotive hit the offending wagons,” the Pakistani Railways said in an initial report.
“The track has problems on several points, the coaches are old, some about 40 years old,” railway official Khalid Latif told Geo News TV.
“I have said at a high level several times, ‘please do something about it,'” he said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Twitter that he was shocked by the “terrible” accident and ordered a comprehensive railway safety investigation.
Incidents of system failure are common.
About 130 people were killed in the same area in 2005 when a crowded passenger train crashed into another at a station and a third train hit the wreckage.
Consecutive governments have been trying for years to provide funds to upgrade the system. Recently, Pakistani officials have hoped that China will help fund the network as part of the Belt and Road initiative for energy and infrastructure projects.
“It is very unfortunate,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said of the crash. “Our railway system has long been in need of major repairs.”