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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge 'horrified' by Pakistan train crash that killed 73

The royal couple, who recently returned from a five-day tour of the country, were "deeply saddened to hear about the tragic fire on the Tezgam train", according to a statement released by the Kensington Palace.

. Current Affairs Digest by Dr Safdar Mahmood

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Thursday said they were "horrified" by news of a train fire that killed 73 people in Pakistan.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all the people and families affected by this heart-breaking disaster," it read.

The fire swept through the train on Thursday after a gas canister that passengers were using to cook breakfast exploded, Pakistan's minister of railways said.

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The blaze destroyed three of the train's carriages near the town of Rahim Yar Khan in the south of Punjab province. It was on its way from the southern city of Karachi to Rawalpindi, near the capital, with many people going to a religious conference.

 

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It was the worst disaster on Pakistan's accident-plagued railway system in nearly 15 years.

"Two stoves blew up when people were cooking breakfast, the presence of kerosene with the passengers in the moving train further spread the fire," Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told Geo televisio

Many of the dead were killed when they leapt from the moving train to escape the flames, he said.

People sneaking stoves onto trains to prepare meals on long journeys is a common problem, the minister said.

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But several survivors questioned whether the fire was sparked by a cooking accident, telling media they believed the cause was a short-circuit in the train's electrical system.

Television pictures showed fire and black smoke pouring from the train's windows after it came to a stop on a stretch of line flanked by fields.

"People were jumping off, some of them were on fire," a witness told Geo.

The death toll had risen to 65, with some victims burned beyond recognition, said the deputy commissioner of the district, Jameel Ahmad.

Nearly 40 people were injured, many with serious burns, he said.

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