Dozens killed as gas stove sparks fire on Pakistan train

Dozens killed as gas stove sparks fire on Pakistan train

According to officials cited in local media, numerous victims died as they tried to jump off the burning train.

Conductor Sadiue Ahmed Khan told the Associated Press the train's emergency breaking system was in ideal working order and the train stopped within three minutes after the first signs of fire. The locomotive was travelling from Karachi to Rawalpindi, local media reported.

She said that gas cylinders were not allowed on the train, but the passengers carrying them went unnoticed by the security staff as they got onboard from Hyderabad station where they did not have efficient scanners and the passengers hid the cylinders inside the bags.

The wounded were being rushed to hospitals in the nearby city of Bahawalpur and elsewhere in Rahim Yar Khan district.

"Two cookers blew up. They were cooking, they had (cooking) oil which added fuel to fire", Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told Geo television.

"Some injured passengers said that they had told the train officials late on Wednesday night about the short circuit smell but no attention was paid and on Thursday morning explosion took place", the Jamaat said.

Rescue workers spent the morning sifting through the wreckage, looking for survivors and aiding the injured.

Kaleem Ullah, an official with the district's emergency services, said that 43 people were injured, and 11 remained in critical condition, according to the AP. The cause of the fire was a gas bottle that passengers picked up on the train to make their breakfast, but it exploded.

Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan tweeted that he is deeply saddened by the awful tragedy and offered condolences for the families of victims and prayers for the injured.

Prime Minister Khan has ordered an inquiry into the tragedy.

It is common for poor passengers to ignore rules and bring their small gas stoves aboard to cook meals.

They were going to attend the annual Tablighi Ijtema, one of Pakistan's biggest religious gatherings, which sees up to 400,000 people descend on a tented village outside Lahore each year for several days to sleep, say prayers and eat together.

In June, three people were killed when a passenger train, the Jinnah Express, hit a freight auto near Hyderabad.

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