(Update 1: Raises death toll)
islamabad, Aug 6 (EFE).- Pakistani authorities on Sunday raised the death toll in the weekend train derailment to 30 as rescue teams continued to remove bodies from the wreckage. At least 80 people were injured in the mishap, although both the death and injury totals may rise as rescue and recovery work continues.
Police official Ashraf Zardari told EFE at the accident site in southern Pakistan that rescue crews were “cutting into a (railway) car to remove possible injured people. There could be more injured or dead inside, but we’re not sure.”
High temperatures in the region, as well as the need to use cranes to lift the carriages and special tools to cut through metal to rescue passengers, are delaying operations, he added.
The accident took place near Nawabshah as the train was heading from the southern city of Karachi to Sargodha in the eastern province of Punjab, Muhammed Anjum, provincial spokesman for the state-owned Pakistan Railways, told EFE.
Anjum said two trains were headed to the scene of the accident with medical personnel to provide relief to the injured, and other experts to help in rescue work as well as to clear the track, which has been completely blocked.
Television images from immediately after the accident showed a large number of passengers near the derailed railcars, some of them stretched on the ground.
Train accidents are frequent in Pakistan, which has an antiquated railway network dating back to the British Empire. The country became independent in 1947.
Adding to its antiquated infrastructure is the threat of attacks by insurgent groups, such as one that was staged in February when a separatist group detonated a bomb on a moving train that killed at least one woman and injured seven other people.
In 2021, a collision between two trains in southern Pakistan resulted in 62 deaths, along with about 30 people injured.
In October 2019, 73 people were killed when a gas cylinder that passengers were using to prepare breakfast exploded on a train in southern Pakistan. EFE