KARACHI: The express train derailment which killed at least 31 people was caused by missing fishplates and a damaged track, according to a preliminary report of the probe into the major accident in Pakistan's Sindh province.
The Hazara Express train travelling from Karachi to Rawalpindi derailed on Sunday in Nawabshah district near the Sarhari Railway Station, 275 kilometres from the provincial capital Karachi.
"Missing fishplates and a damaged track caused the derailment of the Hazara Express, the preliminary report was quoted as stating by the Dawn newspaper on Tuesday.
"After checking from all the aspects, we came to (the) conclusion that (the) accident took place due to fresh rail broken and fishplates missing," said the report released by the six-member Pakistan Railways inquiry team on Monday.
The team also identified the skidding of the train's locomotive as another reason behind the derailment.
The report says the train engine had left the site without examination by senior subordinates.
Moreover, "little hitting spots" were found on the iron fishplates and wooden terminal beyond the accident point.
"Hence the engineering branch and mechanical branch are held responsible for this accident," it reads.
The administration of the People's Medical College Hospital in Benazirabad - the district home to Nawabshah, said that over 120 injured had been shifted to the facility and most of them have been discharged after treatment while 30 people are currently undergoing treatment.
Also, a total of 29 bodies were claimed and taken by family members while the bodies of two deceased women - who could not be identified - are still at the hospital. Two of the team members gave dissenting notes.
Stating that he did not agree with the report, one member said, "The derailment took place due to two fishplates missing, broken rail, [and] engine derailment inside the track due to spread of the gauge. Resultantly, the grazing marks were also found visible outside the wheel disc. Also, no heating marks were observed on the track, fishplates and bolts."
According to the other dissenting official, the actual cause of the derailment was "due to engine axle jamming resulting in deep fling which left hitting marks" at fishplates.
"This deepness increased with continuous jamming, resulting in breakage of fish bolts for the missing fishplates," the official's note reads.
However, it was a "very initial probe report" as the final one will take some time to prepare, the report said.
"A detailed probe is underway as the Federal Government Inspector of Railways is on-site to find out the reason behind this tragedy," the report added.