Death toll climbs to 73; compensation announced

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BAHAWALPUR, Oct 31 (APP):The death toll climbed to 73 after the rescue teams retrieved more bodies from the bogies of Rawalpindi-bound Tezgaam train that caught fire apparently due to gas cylinder explosion on Thursday near Rahim Yarm Khan, a senior official of Rescue-1122 said.

As many as 73 passengers have died and 30 others sustained injuries in the tragedy, District Emergency Officer Punjab Emergency Service Rescue-1122 Bahawalpur region Baqir Hussain told media.

He said the rescue operation at the incident site inTanwri area of Chani Goth had been completed and all bodies and injured shifted to different hospitals.

He said some passengers burnt to death in the bogies No. 3, 4 and 5, adding some others succumbed to their injuries on way to hospitals.

Replying to a question, he said the fire had been completely extinguished.

Baqir said people could get information about the tragedy victims by calling on phone numbers of Rescue 1122 including 062-9250500 and 068-9230183.

He said the incident had taken place near Tanwri Railway Station, Chak No. 6, Chani Goth area that come under the jurisdiction Tehsil Liaquatpur of Rahimyar Khan district.

He, however, said Rescue 1122 Bahawalpur region immediately carried out rescue and relief operation within no time.

Medical officials at Tehsil Headquarters Hospital (THQ) in Liaquatpur told APP that 32 injured were brought to the THQ whose identification had been ascertained.

They said six of the injured belonged to Karachi, one each to Sadiqabad, Khanpur and Abbottabad and remaining all hailed from Mirpur Khas district of Sindh province.

They said some of the injured were referred to Multan hospital due to their critical condition.

The injured had also been shifted to Bahawal Victoria Hospital (BVH) in Bahawalpur and Sheikh Zaid Hospital in Rahimyar Khan, where more ill-fated passengers succumbed to their injuries.

Baqir said the BVH Bahawalpur, one of largest civil hospitals of the country had no proper burn unit ward, adding the injured could be shifted to burn unit ward in Multan based hospital.

He said as many as 17 bodies were severely burnt and could not been recognized, adding the DNA test of the bodies would be carried out for the identification purpose.

Officials told APP that said bogies No. 3 & 4 were booked for members of Tableeghi Jamaat who were travelling to attend religious gathering in Raiwind, Lahore.

District Police Officer, Rahimyar Khan Ameer Taimore Khan confirmed death of 62 passengers only.

Talking to journalists, he said a group of passengers started preparing breakfast on a gas cylinder stove that caused explosion and fire eruption in the train.

“Several passengers died and injured in the train fire belonged to Mirpur Khas, Tando Aadam, Haiderabad and other areas of Sindh province who were travelling to attend a religious gathering,” he said.

The police sources said that some passengers died as they jumped out of the train bogies to save them from fire.

Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Bahawalpur said that Army personnel and helicopter of Army Aviation were immediately dispatched to the affected site. “Army helicopter has transported injured to hospitals in Bahawalpur and Multan,” they said, adding that Army personnel joined civil rescuers to carry out rescue and relief operation at the site.

Army doctors and paramedics also provided the injured with first aid and medical treatment.

A senior official of Pakistan Railways, Aijaz Ahmed said rescue and relief operation was underway.

He said that inquiry had been ordered to investigate the incident. He said that railway track had been cleared for routine railway traffic.

Meanwhile, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid announced compensation of Rs1.5 million each for the families of Tezgaam train fire victims who lost their lives and
Rs 0.5 million each for the injured.