A fire broke out on a train in Pakistan on Thursday when a gas canister used to cook food exploded, killing at least 73 passengers and leaving hundreds of injured, media reported.
The train was on its way from the southern city of Karachi to Lahore in the east when a fuel cylinder being used by passengers to cook breakfast exploded, Railways Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed said.
The fire destroyed three of the train’s carriages, including two economy class carriages and one business class carriage.
Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed while speaking to local news channel said, “Two cooking stoves blew up. They were cooking, they had (cooking) oil which added fuel to fire.”
“Most deaths occurred from people jumping off the train,” he added.
He added, men from a tableeghi jammat were travelling in the carriage where the incident occurred.
The fire that ignited after the explosion destroyed three of the train’s carriages near the town of Rahim Yar Khan in the south of Punjab province.
Rescue 1122 teams have extinguished the fire and are now carrying out a cooling and search operation under the supervision of Rahim Yar Khan Deputy Commissioner Jamil Ahmed.’
Army troops including doctors and paramedics have also been dispatched to assist rescue teams in the operation, a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations said.
An army helicopter was also dispatched from Multan in order to rescue the injured, the ISPR statement added further.
Prime Minister Imran Khan while expressing his condolences directed the authorities o ensure the provision of best medical treatment for the injured.