Two express trains collided in southern Pakistan early Monday, killing at least 38 passengers, authorities said, as rescuers and villagers worked to pull injured people and more bodies from the wreckage.As daylight broke, between 15 to 20 passengers were still trapped in the wreckage of the Millat Express train and authorities were trying to arrange heavy machinery to rescue those people who are crying for help, said Umar Tufail, a police chief in Ghotki district in Sindh province, where the collision occurred before dawn.The Millat Express derailed and the Sir Syed Express train hit it soon afterward, said Usman Abdullah, a deputy commissioner in Ghotki. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the derailment and the subsequent collision.
“Right now the challenge for us is to quickly rescue those passengers who are still trapped in the wreckage,” he said.
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According to railway officials, about 1,100 passengers were on board the two trains, and arrangements were being made to help the surviving passengers.According to local media, some of the passengers were traveling by the Millat Express train to attend a wedding party but it was unclear whether they were among the dead or injured.TV footage showed ambulances transporting injured passengers to hospitals. According to Pakistani TV stations, heavy machinery had not reached the scene about four hours after the crash.
Some of the injured passengers were listed in critical condition at a hospital.Officials at Pakistan railways said they had ordered an investigation and rescue work was still in progress.Authorities said troops had also arrived at the scene of the accident to participate in the rescue work.Mohammad Amin, one of the passengers on the Millat Express who had minor injuries, told the AP from a hospital that before the train departed from the southern port city of Karachi, he and his brother, who was also on the train, saw railway mechanics working one of the coaches.That led them to believe there was something wrong with it but they were reassured all was fine.The train car that was being worked on was the one that later derailed, Amin claimed.Habibur Rehman Gilani, chairman of Pakistan Railways, told Geo News TV that the segment of the railway tracks where the accident took place was old and needed replacing. He did not elaborate.Train accidents are common in Pakistan, where successive governments have paid little attention to improving the poorly maintained signal system and aging tracks.In 1990, a packed passenger plowed into a standing freight train in southern Pakistan, killing 210 people in the worst rail disaster in Pakistan’s history.