Karachi: A horrific collision between a speeding train and a passenger bus at an unmanned crossing killed at least 20 people, including children, and left scores injured in Pakistan's southern Sindh province, officials said.
The accident took place on Friday at the Kandhra railway crossing, near the Rohri railway station in the province, when the '45 Up Pakistan Express' train coming from Rawalpindi towards Karachi collided with the passenger bus.
Sukkur Commissioner Shafiq Ahmed Mahesar confirmed that at least 20 people, including children, died in the incident, adding that the casualties could rise as the condition of several of the injured was critical.
"We have shifted at least 60 injured people to hospitals in Rohri and Sukkur," he said.
"The bus, carrying more than 50 passengers, was going from Sukkur to Punjab," senior Sukkur police official Jamil Ahmed said.
"It was a horrible accident. So strong was the impact of the train hitting the bus that it was split into three parts," he said.
The bus was dragged around 150-200 feet by the train, Ahmed said. Rescue officials said among the victims, some died on the spot while others breathed their last while being shifted to hospitals.
Commissioner Shafique Ahmed said the injured, including women and children, were taken to different hospitals in Rohri and Sukkur.
It is a huge tragedy and all administration and police officials are rushing to the site. It was an unmanned railway crossing and unfortunately, the driver of the bus took a risk by trying to cross it when the train was coming in full speed," he said.
Sukkur District Health Officer Dr Munir Mangrio confirmed that 13 bodies were sent to the Rohri hospital, while the remaining bodies were sent to the Sukkur hospital. The deceased included five women and nine men.
According to a Pakistan Railways spokesperson, the bus driver was apparently at fault in the incident. He said the train's engine was damaged in the collision, while the assistant driver sustained injuries.
Pakistan Railways has 2,470 unmanned crossings, for which the railway ministry has written to provincial governments several times to depute personnel. The federal government inspector of railways (FGIR) will investigate the incident, the spokesperson added.