At least 73 people were killed and scores injured when a train caught fire near the city area of Liaquatpur on Thursday. The train, Tezgam, was on its way from Karachi to Rawalpindi, when a gas cylinder carried by a passenger exploded, leaving several dead and injured. The fire destroyed three of the train’s carriages, including two economy class carriages and one business class carriage. Head of the district rescue service Baqir Hussain confirmed the news of the death toll. Hussain added the dead bodies will be identified through DNA.
DPO Rahim Yar Khan Ameer Taimoor Khan said the injured have been shifted to DHQ Liaqatpur and Bahawalpur. Hospital sources said, 10 of the dead bodies have been identified, while 17 are unidentifiable. A Pakistan Railways official confirmed that the fire was caused by the explosion in a gas cylinder. After the blast, the raging fire engulfed two other coaches as well.
Railway officials said there were more than 200 passengers travelling in the three carriages , in which there were at least 77 passengers in one of the carriages while there 78 in the other economy class carriage. At least 54 passengers were travelling in the business class carriage.
Railways minister blames train fire on passengers
Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed while speaking to Geo News said, “Two cooking stoves blew up. They were cooking, they had [cooking] oil which added fuel to fire.” “Most deaths occurred from people jumping off the train,” he added.He added, the train track will be functional in two hours. He added, men from a tableeghi jammat were travelling in the carriage where the incident occurred. “Bogies were severely damaged by the fire and they have been detached by the rest of the train,” he said. Rasheed added the fire had been extinguished and cooling efforts were underway.
Speaking to media before departing for Rahim Yar Khan, Rasheed said Ameer Hussain of tableeghi jamaat had booked the two carriages.“It was our negligence that they were allowed to board with a gas cylinder,” Rasheed added. Earlier, Hussain, told Geo News some of the dead were killed when they jumped from the moving train to escape the flames. CEO Pakistan Railways Aijaz Ahmad said the train schedule will not be affected by this incident.
President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed their deep grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in Tezgam Express fire incident in Rahim Yar Khan. In their separate condolence messages, they condoled with the bereaved families. The prime minister directed the authorities concerned to provide prompt and best possible medical treatment to those injured in the incident. He later tweeted that he had ordered an immediate inquiry to be completed on an urgent basis.