WORLD

Burning Train In Pakistan Left 74 Dead, Took 20 Minutes To Stop Amid Blaze

A raging fire swept through a train in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab Province on Thursday killing 74 people and survivors said afterward it took nearly 20 minutes for the train to stop amid contradictory reports about the condition of the train’s brakes.
01 Nov 2019 13:07
Burning Train In Pakistan Left 74 Dead, Took 20 Minutes To Stop Amid Blaze
Fire broke out on a train in Pakistan on Thursday after a gas canister carried by a passenger exploded. Photo: Alanbat News

A raging fire swept through a train in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab Province on Thursday killing 74 people and survivors said afterward it took nearly 20 minutes for the train to stop amid contradictory reports about the condition of the train’s brakes.

Three carriages were consumed by flames from a fire caused by a cooking gas stove and dozens of people jumped in panic from the speeding train.

Conductor Sadiue Ahmed Khan said: the train’s emergency braking system was in perfect working order and the train stopped within three minutes after the first signs of fire.

“This is the worst tragedy in my life as a driver,” he said.

Investigators said they will be looking at the train’s braking system to determine its condition at the time of the fire.

Survivors recounted pulling at emergency cords that weave through the train to notify the conductor, but they said the train continued to speed down the tracks.

 

Pakistan Train Fire: Death toll rises

There has been an update from the previous report. At least 70 people were killed and 45 others injured after a fire engulfed a train travelling through central Pakistan, completely destroying at least three coaches, officials said. Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder reports live from Islamabad.

Ghulam Abbas, a passenger who had gotten on the train in the town of Nawabshah in neighboring Sindh Province with his wife and two children, echoed other passengers who said it took nearly 20 minutes for the train to stop. He recounted watching panicked passengers jumping off the speeding locomotive. “We learned afterward that most of them had died,” he said. Abbas’ wife, Sulai Khan Bibi, said she was horrified what would happen to their two small children. “We were so close to death, but Allah saved us,” she said, clutching the children. The train, which was traveling from the southern Arabian Sea port city of Karachi to Rawalpindi, just 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the federal capital, was carrying 857 passengers.

 Rescuers working after a passenger train caught fire in Rahim Yar Khan district of Pakistan's east Punjab province on Oct. 31, 2019.

Rescuers working after a passenger train caught fire in Rahim Yar Khan district of Pakistan’s east Punjab province on Oct. 31, 2019.

Most of the dead were members of Tableeqi-e-Jamaat, an organization of Islamic missionaries. The fire was believed to have started in their compartment. Mufti Wahab, a district chief of the Tableeqi-e-Jamaat, said as many as 52 members of his organization were “martyred because of the fire.” The fire apparently started after one of several small stoves brought on to the train by the the Tableeqi members exploded, setting other gas cylinders used to fuel the stoves on fire, said Deputy Railways Commissioner Jamil Ahmed. Flames roared through the train engulfing three carriages as it approached the town of Liaquatpur in Punjab. Survivors recounted horrific scenes of fellow passengers screaming as they jumped through windows and off the train, flames billowing from the carriages. “We could hear people crying and screaming for help,” said Chaudhry Shujaat, who had boarded the train just a few hours earlier with his wife and two children. “I thought we would die. The next car was on fire. We felt so helpless.”  

Fijisun E-edition
Advertise with fijisun
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: