At least 40 people have been killed and more than 120 injured after two trains collided near the southern Pakistani town of Dharki, officials said. However, rescue work is still underway to find survivors trapped in the debris.
The collision took place early on Monday morning near the town of Dharki, about 440km (273 miles) north of Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi, officials say.
A senior Dharki police officer, Umar Tufail, said 40 people were killed.
The death toll was likely to rise as rescuers struggled to reach people trapped in several mangled compartments strewn across the tracks.
“One coach is under the engine, and we can see three bodies trapped inside,” he told AFP news agency.
“Two other bodies have been reported elsewhere too, so we fear that the death toll will rise,” Tufail added.
Television footage from the site of the crash showed the mangled wreckage of the two trains strewn across the track, with rescuers using cranes and other equipment to try and reach those trapped inside.
The accident took place when eight compartments of the northbound Millat Express train derailed near Dharki, a local official said. The southbound Sir Syed Express passenger train then hit the derailed compartments, he said.
“Rescuers are still trying to get into at least two crashed bogeys, they are still removing the debris,” he said. “Equipment and paramilitary forces are there to remove the debris.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “shocked” by the crash, and ordered Railways Minister Azam Swati to reach the site of the accident on Monday.
“Have asked railway minister to reach the site and ensure medical assistance to injured and support for families of the dead,” he tweeted. The Pakistani military said it had dispatched rescue helicopters, ambulances and specialized search and rescue crews to the site of the crash.