At least 900 passengers headed from Karachi to Lahore were crowded into the 16-car Karachi Express at 2:25 A.M. local time Wednesday (2125 GMT). The train was traveling at full speed when 12 of 16 cars derailed in Sindh province near Mehrabpur, about 250 miles north of Karachi. The trains slid into soft ground and water. At least 58 were killed and 150 injured. Pictures here.
Ashraf Khan reports
It was unclear what caused the accident, which left hundreds of terrified passengers trying to claw their way out of the wreckage in total darkness.
Mohammed Khalid, a railway official who was traveling in one of the rear cars that stayed on the rails, said he suspected a problem with the track.
“My guess is that there was some piece of rail missing and the engine jumped the missing track and the following wagon got stuck,” he said.
After the crash, a section of one rail had been torn loose. The engine came to a halt about a mile farther up the line.
Brig. Nazhar Jamil, the army officer in charge of the relief operation, said an initial inspection of the track found no sign of sabotage. He said excessive speed coupled with poor maintenance might have been to blame. The train had been full, but not overcrowded.
Asad Saeed, the general manager of Pakistan’s rail network said:
A welded track joint broke. There are many forces on the track and sometimes this joint breaks.
Relatives are unhappy with the rail company’s information center.
Musharraf has ordered an investigation of the crash and plans to prevent it from happening again.
The usual suspects will be right on it, inshallah.
And that’s the problem, isn’t it? Inshallah has all the procrastination of mañana, without the urgency. We’ll do preventive maintenance, inshallah. We will get trained on that system, inshallah. We’ll fix that section of rail properly instead of welding it again, inshallah.
And if it does happen, it will be a miracle.