Pakistan

Gujranwala train crash occurred due to damaged track: report

LAHORE/GUJRANWALA: The initial inquiry report of the Gujranwala train incident has been completed, which suggests the incident occurred due to poor condition of the track, ARY News reported.

The special train carrying officials and soldiers of the Pakistan Army plunged into the canal due to the damaged track.

The seven-member investigation team in its report stated that it found scratches imprinted by train’s engines and bogies on a patch of track up to 17 meters long.

Earlier, an investigation team headed by Inspector for Railways Mian Arshad started investigations of Thursday’s train mishap near Gujranwala, a railway spokesman told.

At least 17 people, including four military officers, were killed when four bogies of a train carrying army officials fell into a canal near Gujranwala on Thursday after a railway bridge collapsed.

Pakistan Railways spokesman Rauf Tahir talking to media said that the probe team will submit its report to the Ministry of Railways within 72 hours.

He said the engine and bogies drowned in the canal will be retrieved within two to three days, while repair and restoration of the railway track between Faisalabad and Rawalpindi will take three weeks. He said the trains between Faisalabad and Rawalpindi will now run via Sargodha.

The spokesman said that the collapsed railway bridge was constructed in year 1948 and was in a satisfactory condition.

The officials died in the incident included Lt. Col Amir Jadoon, his wife and two children, Lt. Col Rashid, Major Adil, Lieutenant Kashif, Constable Islam, Lance Naik Zafar and staffers Babar and Aslam.

Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif and other military and civil officials attended the funeral prayers of 14 deceased at Combined Military Hospital Gujranwala.

Funeral Prayers

The funeral prayers of Major Adil was offered at Cavalary Ground Lahore. The family members of the deceased, Corps Commander Lahore and other military officials attended the funeral.

Captain Kashif was laid to rest at his native Nizampura with military honours. Military officials and residents of the area attended the funeral.

The funeral prayers of the train driver Mohammad Riaz was offered at Faisalabad’s Railway Colony.

Director General ISPR Maj. General Asim Saleem Bajwa confirmed that four bogies of a train carrying military troops fell near Jamke Chatha in canal. He said rescue work was underway.

He also confirmed that 12 persons including a lieutenant colonel have been killed. Eight bodies were found, he added.

The sources informed that the dilapidated bridge collapsed that resulted the train falling down the canal. Bodies of 18 people have been found so far

It is learnt that around 130 persons were aboard the train. The injured have been moved to Combined Military Hospital for treatment. The army troops were busy in rescue activities and successfully pulled out around 82 people from the submerged bogies in the canal.

A rescue mission involving rubber dinghies, helicopters and divers was launched, live TV footage showed.

Rauf Tahir, a spokesman for the railways ministry confirmed the incident, adding that the injured were taken to a military hospital in the nearby city of Gujranwala.

Pakistan inherited thousands of miles of track and trains from the former colonial power, Britain, but the railways have seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and under-investment.

In May, seven people including the ambassadors of Norway and the Philippines were killed after a Pakistani military helicopter crashed on its way to the country’s mountainous north where the diplomats were set to inspect tourism projects.

The Indonesian ambassador later succumbed to his injuries after being flown to a hospital in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed concerns on the train accident in Gujranwala.

He directed to mobilize all resources to rescue the injured and restoration of the track.

The Prime Minister also directed to provide medical aid to the injured and arrange their return to their destination points.

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