Kolkata/ Balasore: Returning home to their families after several months of working in south India, passengers aboard the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express suddenly heard a loud thud, following which they fell off their berths and lights went off.
They were just five hours away from their destination in Howrah when the train they were travelling got involved in a triple train accident at Bahanaga Bazar station in Odisha’s Balasore district.
The train, which was running a little over three hours late from its schedule, was moving towards its next stop Balasore, some 20 km away, when the accident took place around 7pm Friday.
Mizan Ul Haq, a resident of Bardhaman, was in one of the coaches at the rear of the train.
“The train was running at a high speed. Around 7 pm, a loud sound was heard and everything started moving in all directions and I fell down on the floor from the upper berth as the lights went off inside the compartment,” Haq, who was returning home from work in Karnataka on a holiday, said.
He said that somehow, he managed to come out of the damaged coach and then to safety.
“It was ghastly, many people with grave injuries were lying around beside mangled coaches,” Haq, who was lucky to have escaped with minor injuries, told PTI at Howrah station, where medical aid, food and other assistance were provided by the railway authorities to the surviving passengers.
The unaffected 17 coaches of the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express reached Howrah at 1pm Saturday with 635 passengers, of whom 40 to 50 people were administered medical treatment on arrival, North Howrah Deputy Commissioner of Police Anupam Singh said.
He said that five of them were sent to hospital for further treatment, while others left for their destinations.
Rekha, a Bengaluru resident coming to Kolkata for a visit, said that she was in a coach ahead of the wagons that got derailed.
“It was total chaos initially. We got off our compartment out of fear and sat in the nearby fields in the darkness till our train finally started for Howrah in the wee hours,” she said.
Another Bardhaman resident, a carpenter who works in Bengaluru, said he was injured in the chest, feet and head when the coach in which he was travelling turned turtle.
“We had to break open the windows and jump out of the compartment to save ourselves,” he said, adding he saw many dead bodies after the accident.
Imtajul Khan, a resident of Murshidabad, said he saw many people dying in front of his eyes.
“It was shocking, I don’t think I will ever be able to overcome the effect of this dreadful incident,” he said, as he headed for his destination after receiving treatment at Howrah station at a medical camp set up by the railways.