Gas explodes in train where people were cooking breakfast, 71 killed as Pakistan orders probe
A gas explosion left 71 people dead on a Pakistan train on Thursday and around 43 others injured.
The train was on its way from the southern city of Karachi to Rawalpindi, with reports indicating that many of the passengers were going to attend a religious conference organised by Tablighi Jamaat Sunni Muslim missionary movement.
The fire destroyed three of the train’s carriages near the town of Rahim Yar Khan in the south of Punjab province.
“Two stoves blew up when people were cooking breakfast, the presence of kerosene with the passengers in the moving train further spread the fire and most deaths occurred from people jumping off the train,” Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, who is the Minister for Railways told Geo television.
Reuters reported that television pictures showed fire and black smoke pouring from the train’s windows after it came to a stop on a stretch of line flanked by fields.
The Star Tribune reported that: “Survivors said it took the train nearly 20 minutes to come to a halt after the fire broke out and passengers began screaming for help.”
Pakistani PM Imran Khan has reportedly ordered investigations into the incident.
The incident comes barely months after eleven people were killed in an accident in July and four in another accident in September.
And in 2005, around 130 people also died when a train rammed into another at a station in Sindh province, and a third train hit the wreckage.