The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have sent a message of support to the President of Pakistan following a train fire in the country.
Their message reads:
“Having just returned from visiting Pakistan, we were horrified and deeply saddened to hear about the tragic fire on the Tezgam train near Rahim Yar Khan.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all the people and families affected by this heart-breaking disaster.”
The fire, which broke out on 31 October, killed 74 people and injured almost 40 others when a gas cannister exploded on a train. Some of the passengers had been using it to cook breakfast.
Speaking to local television, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the Minister for Railways, said that “Two stoves blew up when people were cooking breakfast, the presence of kerosene with the passengers in the moving train further spread the fire.”
It isn’t uncommon for people to bring their own small stoves aboard trains in Pakistan though this is against the rules.
Pakistan’s Prime Ministerm Imran Khan, posted on Twitter that he would order “an immediate inquiry to be completed on an urgent basis.”
The train’s conductor said that after the fire was noticed, the train was stopped within three minutes, telling the Associated Press that “This is the worst tragedy in my life as a driver.” Some passengers disputed this, saying that it took almost 20 minutes for the train to stop.
The fire destroyed three train carriages as it travelled from Karachi to Rawalpindi, carrying many passengers who were to attend a religious conference in Rawalpindi.
William and Kate visited Pakistan in October, their first visit to the country. During their tour they visited Islamabad and Lahore for a series of engagements that shone a spotlight on Pakistan as a modern, vibrant country. Their engagements included those related to children, education and women’s education, security and climate change.