Pakistan: Fire breaks out in Tezgam express train
Most passengers died trying to jump off moving train to escape blaze in Punjab, say officials
A fire that broke out in a passenger train in Pakistan has claimed at least 70 lives with several injured, according to The Guardian.
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the railway minister, has said that this incident was caused due to the explosion of a gas cylinder brought by the passengers.
Even though it is illegal to bring gas canisters on to trains in Pakistan, the passengers often ignore the rule.
“Two stoves blew up when people were cooking breakfast, the presence of kerosene with the passengers in the moving train further spread the fire,” Ahmed said.
Tezgam Express goes from Karachi to Rawalpindi and was crossing the Punjab province when the incident took place.
The assistant commissioner of Multan, Mansoor Ahmed, confirmed that the death toll stood at 70 so far, with more than 40 injured. He also added that the local Rahim Yar Khan district hospital was unable to accommodate the number of casualities. Several people had to be taken to Multan district hospital, which is about three hours away.
Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister, tweeted: “Deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy of the Tezgam train. My condolences go to the victims’ families and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. I have ordered an immediate inquiry to be completed on an urgent basis.”
Deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy of the Tezgam train. My condolences go to the victims' families & prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. I have ordered an immediate inquiry to be completed on an urgent basis.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 31, 2019
The railway minister also added that most deaths were caused by passengers throwing themselves from the moving train to escape.
This is not the first incident of train fire in Pakistan. At least 23 people were killed in an incidence in July where a passenger train crashed into a goods train.