KARACHI: At least 17 people have been killed and dozens more injured after two trains carrying hundreds of passengers collided in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi early Thursday, officials said.
Witnesses described watching in horror as one train sped into the city’s Quaidabad Railway Station and rammed into the second, which was stationary, with the roar of the crash swiftly followed by the screams of people trapped inside.
Officials said rescuers armed with metal-cutting equipment and heavy cranes had managed to pull all the passengers from the twisted wreckage.
“No-one is left inside,” Ijaz Ahmad Khan, a Karachi administrative official, told reporters at the scene.
Many were rushed to Karachi’s Jinnah Hospital, where an AFP reporter described horrifying scenes as the injured lay screaming and crying while medics rushed to help them.
“I am dying, I am dying, please, please, I am dying,” cried Abdul Ghaffar, 55, as doctors tried to move his legs and hands. He appeared to have multiple injuries, while his children and wife were also wounded and lay on beds nearby.
Other victims appeared too stunned to talk. Many had head and foot injuries, and at least one man had his leg amputated below the knee.
Casualties were still being counted but there could have been a total of up to 1,000 passengers on board the trains when the accident occurred, said Nasir Nazeer, an administrative in Karachi.
Seemi Jamali, a spokeswoman at Jinnah Hospital, told AFP at least 17 people had died. Earlier she said the hospital had received some 50 wounded.
The accident occurred when the incoming “Zakria Express” from the central city of Multan rammed into the “Fareed Express”, from Lahore, as it waited at Quaidabad Station, also known as Jumma Goth, in the Landi neighbourhood of Karachi.
Train services from Karachi to the rest of the country have been suspended.
Rail accidents are common in Pakistan, as railways have seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and lack of investment.