Rescue workers gather beside burned-out carriages on October 31 after a passenger train caught fire near Rahim Yar Khan in Pakistan’s Punjab province. (AFP via Getty Images)

At least 74 dead in Pakistan train fire

A moving passenger train erupted in flames near the town of Rahim Yar Khan in central Pakistan on Thursday, killing at least 74 passengers and injuring around 40. According to a report by Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the fire, which engulfed three carriages, was caused by the explosion of two gas stoves that passengers were using to prepare breakfast in violation of poorly enforced safety regulations. The fire spread quickly as cooking oil carried by passengers ignited. The train was traveling from Karachi, in southern Pakistan, to Rawalpindi, 700 miles to the northeast, near the country’s capital Islamabad. Many of the passengers were members of the Tablighi Jamaat (Outreach Society), a Sunni Muslim missionary movement, traveling to a festival. Accidents are common on Pakistan’s overcrowded trains, but this was the worst in more than a decade. Many of the dead were killed as they jumped while the train was still moving; bodies were reportedly scattered along the tracks for over a mile. On Twitter, Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed condolences to the families of those killed and called for an immediate investigation.

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