UPDATE 3 - 30 killed, 100 injured as passenger train derails in southern Pakistan
Authorities fear death toll can rise as unknown numbers of passengers still trapped inside toppled carriages, several injured in critical condition
UPDATES WITH MORE DEATHS, MORE DETAILS; REVISES HEADLINE, LEAD AND DECK
By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - The death toll from a passenger train accident in Pakistan's southern Sindh province on Sunday rose to 30 as rescuers pulled out more bodies from the wreckage of the derailed carriages.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, while addressing a public rally, confirmed the death toll, putting the number of injured at 100.
Offering his condolences over the loss of lives, Sharif ordered an inquiry into the accident, which is the latest in a string of similar accidents in recent years.
Earlier, Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq told reporters that 28 bodies and 50 injured people had been transported to nearby hospitals in the Nawabshah and Sanghar districts.
Samaa News, a local broadcaster, citing the head of the rescue operation, reported that the death toll jumped to 34.
Army and paramilitary force Rangers were called in to assist the rescue operation as railway operations have been halted following the deadly accident.
More army contingents and an army helicopter have also joined the hours-long rescue operation.
At least 10 carriages of Hazara Express, which was traveling from the port city of Karachi to the northeastern garrison city of Rawalpindi, derailed near the Nawabshah district, some 267 kilometers (166 miles) from Karachi, Pakistan Railways said.
The railway minister said the accident could be the result of a technical fault or an "act of sabotage."
Authorities feared a rise in the death toll as dozens of passengers are still trapped inside the toppled carriages, while conditions of several injured are critical.
Teams are facing difficulties in carrying out rescue operations and transporting injured to hospitals due to the remoteness of the accident site.
Dozens of locals have also joined the rescue operation, with many distributing cooked food and water bottles among the survivors.
Footage played out by local broadcaster Geo News showed several carriages lying sideways on the track, while rescue teams backed by heavy machinery were trying to pull out the trapped passengers.
Another footage showed panicked survivors, including many women cradling their kids, standing near the derailed carriages at the remote accident site.
Train accidents are not rare in the South Asian nuclear country, mainly because of weak infrastructure and lax safety standards.
Some 63 passengers were killed in a collision between two trains in Sindh in June 2021.
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