At least 50 killed after express train derails in southern Pakistan

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The Independent Online

An express train packed with holidaymakers derailed in southern Pakistan early this morning killing at least 50 people and injuring many more, officials said.

The train was said to be travelling from Karachi to Lahore when 12 of its 16 carriages came off the rails near Mehrabpur, about 250 miles north of Karachi, said Anwar Kazmi, a spokesman for the Edhi Foundation, a charity that dispatched ambulances to the scene of the accident.

The train was full of passengers travelling before today's Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Adha.

Sikander Ali, a senior police official at the scene, said that rescue workers had recovered 50 bodies from the wreckage and were calling in cutting equipment to gain access to more of the carriages.

The cause of the crash remained unclear late last night. Tanveer Ahmad, a railway official in the southern city of Sukkur, said that at least 10 people had died and more than 100 had been injured.

However, there were fears that the death toll would rise dramatically, with dozens of people still trapped in the wreckage.

Khalid Amin, another official in the area, said two relief trains were being sent to the scene of the accident, which happened around 2.10am local time.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident the district police chief, Abdul Hadi Bullo, said that police had removed "three dead and about 50 injured, with both minor and major injuries". He added: "There are maybe 100 people still trapped. We've called for cutters."

The derailment follows a series of deadly collisions in Pakistan over the years which have killed more than 100 people at a time.

In July 2005, more than 130 people were confirmed dead after three trains collided in southern Pakistan.

More than a hundred people were killed and many more injured in 1991 when a train carrying 800 passengers from Karachi to Lahore hit a parked freight train at Ghotki.

And in 1990 a parked passenger train struck a stationary freight train in Sindh Province, killing more than 210 people.

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