12 killed as 4 compartments of train fall into canal in Pakistan

12 killed as 4 compartments of train fall into canal in Pakistan
# 03 July 2015 00:37 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. At least 12 people including a senior army officer was killed when four compartments of a train fell into a canal in eastern Pakistan's city of Gujranwala on Thursday afternoon, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, Director General of ISPR, the mouthpiece of Pakistani army, said that a railway bridge collapsed when the train carrying military troops was crossing it near Jamke Chattha area of Gujranwala, a district located in the country's eastern Punjab province.

He said a lieutenant colonel was among the 12 people who were killed in the bridge collapse.

The ISPR said 80 people including four injured were rescued and eight bodies were retrieved from the canal while the search of the remaining four bodies is underway.

The special train had 21 cargo and six passenger compartments was on its way to the cantonment city of Kharian from Pano Aqil for military exercises when it met the accident.

The irrigation department closed the canal water to help the army rescue teams find the remaining bodies once the canal water subsides.

Pakistani army backed by two helicopters and a crane conducted the rescue operation.

Railway Minister, Khwaja Saad Rafique said the possibility of terrorist attack behind the attack cannot be ruled out as there was no apparent fault in the train or the bridge.

He said another passenger train crossed bridge in the morning and at that time it was intact and fully functional.

The minister said no traces of explosive materials were found from the collapsed bridge, however, it seems that there were some terrorist elements behind the incident as the train driver went missing after the collapse.

Regional Police Officer, Faisal Shahkar, contradicted the minister's statement saying the collapsed bridge is a hundred-year- old and was in a dilapidated condition due to which it collapsed when a 27-bogeyed train crossed it.

A relief train carrying medical staff and technicians has been dispatched from Lahore city to the incident site.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed concerns over the incident and directed the officials with Pakistan Railways to reach at the site.

He also directed the officials to repair the track in the quickest possible way to restore the railway traffic.