Death toll from Tezgam train fire climbs to 105

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Shafaqna Pakistan:The death toll from Thursday’s train incident climbed to105, after rescue officials recovered eight more charred bodies from the train carriages.

The train, Tezgam, was on its way from Karachi to Rawalpindi, when a gas cylinder carried by a passenger exploded, killing and injuring passengers in the train. 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.

Railway officials added there were more than 200 passengers travelling in the three carriages. At least 77 passengers were on board one of the carriages, while 78 others were in the other economy class carriage. At least 54 passengers were travelling in the business class carriage.

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.

Read also: 7 deadly train accidents since July 2018

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.

The railways minister has also announced a Rs1.5million compensation for the families of the deceased in the Tezgam incident and Rs0.5 million for those injured.

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.

Pakistan Army soldiers assisting with relief operation: ISPR
Pakistan Army soldiers reached the scene of the incident and were helping with the rescue operation, a statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

“Pakistan Army soldiers are working with the civil administration to help with the operation. An army aviation helicopter has reached the scene of the incident,” the statement added.

The military’s media wing added, the helicopter was transporting the injured to the hospital.

“Pakistan Army doctors and paramedics are also helping with the relief operation,” ISPR added.

At least 24 people were killed in July, when the Akbar Bugti Express travelling from Lahore to Quetta collided with a stationary freight train at the Walhar Railway Station in Sadiqabad Tehsil of Punjab province.

Last year, nine bogies of the Peshawar-bound Khushal Khan Khattak Express from Karachi derailed near Attock. 20 passengers were injured.