Oct. 31 (UPI) — Fire erupted on board a passenger train after it departed from Karachi, Pakistan, early Thursday, killing more than 70 people, authorities said.
The Tezgam Express train was carrying more than 200 passengers from Karachi to Rawalpindi when three cars caught fire, in Punjab. Officials said the blaze started when a gas cylinder, carried aboard by one of the passengers, exploded.
At least 73 people died, most as they tried to escape the flames.
“Two cooking stoves blew up,” Pakistan’s Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed, said. “They had [cooking] oil which added fuel to fire. Most deaths occurred from people jumping off the train.”
Hospital officials said 10 victims have been identified so far, and many others were burned too badly to visually identify.
A hospital in Rahim Yar Khan was overwhelmed with victims and had to turn some patients away. Some were taken to a hospital in Multan district.
Investigators are examining the charred remains of the train to get an idea how the fire spread so quickly.
“Deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy of the Tezgam train,” Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted. “My condolences go to the victims’ families and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. I have ordered an immediate inquiry to be completed on an urgent basis.”