Tragedy struck in southern Pakistan as a train derailment claimed the lives of at least 30 people and left around 100 others injured, as confirmed by a police spokesperson. The Hazara Express suffered the derailment near the Sahara railway station in Nawabshah, located about 275km (171 miles) away from Karachi, the nation’s largest city.
Numerous train carriages of the Hazara Express overturned, leading to a chaotic scene. Injured passengers were swiftly transported to nearby hospitals, while rescue teams worked tirelessly to extricate individuals from the wreckage. Such accidents are not uncommon on Pakistan’s aged railway system.
Videos circulating on social media displayed the aftermath of the incident, depicting passengers emerging from the toppled carriages. Survivors recounted harrowing experiences, with one describing a frantic effort to aid unconscious victims using water from a nearby canal.
A survivor named Naseer Ahmed narrated his escape, explaining that he fell out of a window as the train derailed. Another passenger, Aslam, likened the crash to an apocalypse and vividly recalled the carriage descending suddenly while he and his son were asleep.
Railway Minister Saad Rafiq disclosed that initial investigations indicated the train was traveling at a normal speed, while efforts were underway to ascertain the cause of the derailment—whether it resulted from mechanical failure or sabotage. Authorities dismissed claims that flooding had affected the tracks.
A spokesperson for the railways in Karachi shared that a minimum of eight carriages had veered off the track. Military and paramilitary personnel, alongside rescue workers, swiftly converged on the scene to rescue passengers trapped within the overturned carriages. The most critically injured were airlifted to better-equipped hospitals by military helicopters.
By the early evening on Sunday, rescue operations had concluded, and an emergency had been declared in the main hospitals of Nawabshah and neighboring districts of Sindh. Train services to interior districts of Sindh were suspended in the wake of the incident.
Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon underlined the government’s priority of rescue efforts, and the tragic derailment revived memories of another disaster in 2021 when two trains collided in Sindh province, resulting in 40 fatalities and numerous injuries. Over the span of 2013 to 2019, local media reported around 150 deaths in similar incidents.