At least 40 people were killed and more than 120 injured when a train packed with holiday travelers derailed in the early morning hours on Wednesday in southern Pakistan.

The train was heading from the port city of Karachi to Lahore when the majority of its cars slipped off the rails near the town of Mehrabpur in Sindh province.

The manager of Pakistan's railway system has ruled out sabotage as a cause. He said initial reports indicate a welded joint in the track broke, due to contraction in the extreme cold.

Local villagers helped rescue those trapped in the wreckage in total darkness, before emergency crews arrived on the scene.

Many of the passengers were heading home to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice.

Pakistan suffered its worst train accident in 2005 when more than 130 people were killed after three trains collided also in Sindh province.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.