At least 35 people have died and more are injured after two packed express trains crashed in southern Pakistan.
Up to 20 people are still trapped in the wreckage of the Millat Express train in the Ghotki district of Sindh province, after it derailed shortly before dawn.
The Sir Syed Express train crashed into the carriages soon afterwards, said Usman Abdullah, a deputy commissioner in Ghotki.
Around 1,100 passengers were on board when the two trains collided and at least 50 have been rushed to hospital with some in a critical condition.
Officials are trying to urgently arrange heavy machinery to rescue those still trapped, said police, while rescuers and villagers worked to pull injured people and more bodies from the wreckage.
It is not yet clear what caused the Millat to derail and the subsequent collision.
Mr Abdullah said: ‘Right now the challenge for us is to quickly rescue those passengers who are still trapped in the wreckage.’
Eyewitness Malik Aslam said he saw around 100 people wounded and counted at least 30 bodies of passengers during the rescue and recovery work.
Minister for railways Azam Swati told the Associated Press that so far 35 people had died.
Mr Swati said engineers and experts were trying to determine what caused the collision.
He said all aspects will be examined, including the possibility of sabotage.
‘We are not sure about the cause of the train accident at this stage,’ he said.
Some passengers on the Millat Express were understood to be on their way to a wedding party – but it is not yet clear whether they were among the dead or injured.
The driver of the Sir Syed Express, Aijaz Ahmed, told Pakistan’s Geo News TV that he tried to break as soon as he saw the derailed train in a desperate bid to avoid the accident.
But it failed and his train rammed into the carriages. He did not explain how he managed to get out alive.
Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan took to Twitter to express his deep sorrow over the tragedy.
He added that he had asked the railway minister to supervise the rescue work and ordered an investigation into the crash.
Train accidents are common in Pakistan, where successive governments have paid little attention to improving the poorly maintained signal system and ageing tracks.
In 1990, a packed passenger ploughed into a standing freight train in southern Pakistan, killing 210 people in the worst rail disaster in the country’s history.
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