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2021 Ghotki rail crash

2021 derailment and collision in Pakistan

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2021 Ghotki rail crash
Details
Date7 June 2021
03:38 PKT (22:38 UTC, 6 June)[1]
Locationnear Daharki, Ghotki District, Sindh
Coordinates28°04′22″N 69°50′34″E / 28.07278°N 69.84278°E / 28.07278; 69.84278Coordinates: 28°04′22″N 69°50′34″E / 28.07278°N 69.84278°E / 28.07278; 69.84278
CountryPakistan
LineKarachi–Peshawar Line
OperatorPakistan Railways
Incident typeDerailment and collision
Statistics
Trains2
Passengers1,208[2]
Deaths65[3]
Injuredc. 150[2]

On 7 June 2021, before dawn, two trains collided near Daharki, in the Ghotki District of the southern province of Sindh in Pakistan, killing at least 65 people and injuring about 150 others. An express train derailed onto the opposite track, and a second express train crashed into the first roughly a minute later.[a] About six to eight bogies were left "completely destroyed".

Locals rushed to the scene to rescue survivors, hindered by the darkness. The Pakistan Army, paramilitary Pakistan Rangers, an urban search and rescue team, helicopters, and accident relief trains later joined in the rescue efforts. An official investigation was ordered to establish the cause of the crash.

An initial investigation report determined that the initial derailment had been caused by the failure of a welding joint.

2021 Ghotki rail crash Intro articles: 1

Background

Sleepers of the Mehr Express, a different Pakistan Railways express train, at Rawalpindi station in 2001

The Pakistani railway system had been plagued with problems that have accumulated over decades of decay.[4][5][6] Its signal system was poorly maintained, and much of its tracks were in a state of disrepair.[7][8][5][9] Due to corruption and mismanagement, the railway system sees frequent accidents, and a lack of investment exacerbates issues.[5][8][6][9] Although a number of governments have pledged to clean up the system, none have succeeded in doing so thus far.[5][9]

Prime Minister Imran Khan had also promised to modernize the railways, but accidents had continued to occur since he took office in 2018, including a train fire in 2019 that killed more than 70 people.[5] The system had seen little maintenance in recent years, while The Express Tribune reported that "deadly train accidents ... seem to have increased in frequency".[8][9][10]

Habibur Rehman Gilani, chairman of Pakistan Railways, stated that the tracks around the site of the accident were old and needed to be replaced.[11] A former official has stated that some railway segments are still using tracks that had been laid before the Independence of Pakistan in 1947.[6]

The Millat Express ran daily between Karachi, in the province of Sindh, and Lalamusa, in the province of Punjab.[12][13]

2021 Ghotki rail crash Background articles: 12

Collision

On 7 June 2021, before dawn, the Millat Express, originating from Karachi, left Daharki station, in the Ghotki District of the southern province of Sindh in Pakistan, at 03:28 PKT (22:28 UTC, 6 June), heading for Sargodha in the province of Punjab.[11][5][1] Ten minutes later, at 03:38, the train derailed between the Daharki and Reti train stations, spilling eight bogies onto the opposite track whilst most of the train's passengers were sleeping.[11][14][5][1][2] About a minute later and travelling in the opposite direction, the Sir Syed Express, which had left Rawalpindi bound for Karachi, crashed into the derailed train.[15][16][17][14][1][a]

The driver of the Sir Syed Express stated that the train was travelling at a normal speed when he saw the derailed Millat Express on the tracks.[6] He engaged the emergency brakes, but was unable to stop the train in time.[6][19] A spokesperson for Pakistan Railways said that the Sir Syed Express did not have enough time to avoid crashing into the derailed train.[16] According to the administration of Pakistan Railways, 703 passengers had been aboard the Millat Express, and 505 aboard the Sir Syed Express.[2]

Ghotki deputy commissioner Usman Abdullah stated that 13 or 14 bogies had derailed due to the accident, and 6 to 8 of them had been "completely destroyed".[20]

2021 Ghotki rail crash Collision articles: 9

Casualties

The collision killed at least 65 people and injured about 150 more.[2][3] Four railway employees were among those killed.[15] Umar Tufail, head of the Ghotki District police, stated that up to 25 people remained trapped in the wreckage.[15]

Response

External images
Rescuers moving a victim from the site[9]
Heavy machinery extricating victims[21]

Locals quickly rushed to the scene during the night to assist survivors, though darkness hindered their efforts.[11][15] As daylight broke, authorities were still attempting to bring heavy machinery to the scene.[11] The driver of the Sir Syed Express, who had been slightly injured, was rescued by locals two hours after the accident.[6][11]

Also taking part in the rescue efforts were the Pakistan Army and paramilitary Pakistan Rangers, including military doctors, paramedics, and ambulances.[11][6][15] A specialist urban search and rescue team was airlifted from Rawalpindi to assist in the operation.[6][15] Two helicopters from Multan were flown in to evacuate victims.[6] Accident relief trains arrived from Sadiqabad and Rohri with heavy machinery and rescue teams.[2] The afternoon heat also hampered rescue efforts, with temperatures as high as 44 °C (111 °F) being reported.[22]

Casualties were transported to hospitals in Daharki, Ghotki, Mirpur Mathelo, and Ubauro, where emergencies were declared.[6] Seriously injured victims were airlifted to Pano Aqil.[15][23]

2021 Ghotki rail crash Response articles: 7

Aftermath

Authorities announced that the next of kin of those deceased would receive an ex gratia payment of 1.5 million (US$9,400), while those injured would receive between 100000 (US$620) and 300000 (US$1,900) depending on the injury.[6][15]

2021 Ghotki rail crash Aftermath articles: 2

Investigation

Imran Khan stated that he was "shocked by the horrific train accident" and ordered an investigation.[24] Federal Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati stated that a "high-level inquiry" has been ordered to determine how the collision occurred, adding that it was unclear if the accident was a result of sabotage or the track's poor quality.[5]

An initial investigation report stated that the failure of a welding joint on the right side of the northbound tracks caused the derailment of the Millat Express.[25] Data was being retrieved from the black boxes of the two train engines for the final report.[25]

2021 Ghotki rail crash Investigation articles: 2

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b A Pakistan Railways statement made to Dawn noted that both the derailment and the collision happened at 03:38 PKT (22:38 UTC, 6 June) and Arab News reported that a Pakistan Railways spokesperson stated that the derailment occurred "some 30 seconds before" the collision, while The Washington Post reported that the collision happened "a little more than a minute later" and the Associated Press reported that the derailment happened "minutes earlier".[1][18][16][7]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "At least 55 killed, 100 injured as passenger trains collide in Sindh's Ghotki district". Dawn. 7 June 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Shamsi, Waseem (8 June 2021). "55 perish as trains collide at dead of night". Dawn. Archived from the original on 8 June 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  3. ^ a b Shaikh, Mohammad Hussain Khan | Ubaidullah (8 June 2021). "Death toll from Ghotki train tragedy rises to 65". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  4. ^ "A timeline of major train accidents in the past two decades". Dawn.com. 9 June 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Masood, Salman (7 June 2021). "2 Trains Collide in Pakistan, Killing at Least 32". The New York Times. ISSN 1553-8095. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Pakistan: 50 killed, over 70 injured as two passenger trains collide in Sindh's Ghotki". India TV. 7 June 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  7. ^ a b Tanveer, Asim; Farooq, Muhammad (8 June 2021). "Official: Death toll rises to 63 in Pakistan train collision". AP News. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  8. ^ a b c "Pakistan: At least 33 killed in train crash in Sindh province". Deutsche Welle. 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Dozens killed as two trains collide in southern Pakistan". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  10. ^ "A timeline of neglect: Train incidents in Pakistan". The Express Tribune. 31 October 2019. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Tanveer, Asim; Ahmed, Munir (7 June 2021). "Officials: 2 trains collide in southern Pakistan, killing 38". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  12. ^ "KARACHI: Millat train service for Faisalabad inaugurated". Dawn. 11 November 2004. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  13. ^ "Pakistan Railway minister extends train route". The News. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  14. ^ a b Peshimam, Gibran (7 June 2021). "Pakistani train smashes into derailed carriages; 36 killed". Reuters. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h Hafeez, Amin; Hussain, Imtiaz; Aslam, Malik Mohammad; Farooqi, Yasir (7 June 2021). "Train crash kills over 40, injures 100 in Sindh's Ghotki". Geo News. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  16. ^ a b c Khan, Haq Nawaz; Hussain, Shaiq (7 June 2021). "Death toll rises to 40 in Pakistan train crash, as rescuers try to free survivors". The Washington Post. Peshawar, Pakistan. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  17. ^ "Pakistan train accident: 36 killed in Sindh collision". BBC News. 7 June 2021.
  18. ^ Kahn, Naimat (7 June 2021). "Train collides with derailed carriages in southern Pakistan". Arab News. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  19. ^ "How did the Ghotki train crash happen? Sir Syed Express' driver expla…".
  20. ^ "36 killed, scores injured as two passenger trains collide in Pakistan's Sindh". The Tribune. Karachi. 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  21. ^ "In pictures: Another day, another train disaster in Pakistan". 7 June 2021. Archived from the original on 8 June 2021.
  22. ^ Saifi, Sophia (7 June 2021). "Dozens killed in train crash in southern Pakistan". Islamabad. CNN. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  23. ^ "A terrifying train crash killed up to 40 people in Pakistan". Disaster News. Ghotki, Pakistan. 7 June 2021.
  24. ^ "Ghotki train accident: 'Shocked' PM Imran Khan orders comprehensive investigation". Geo News. 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  25. ^ a b Hafeez, Amin (8 June 2021). "Ghotki train crash happened after track's welding joint broke: initial investigation report". Geo News. Retrieved 9 June 2021.