Mumbai: Woman, boy fall off running trains, live to tell the tale

In two incidents in a span of less then 10 days, a 22-year-old woman and a 10-year-old boy had a brush with death at Thane and Dadar stations respectively; while the woman slipped and got stuck in the gap between the platform and the train and suffered severe injuries, the boy got away with scratches yesterday as he was pulled back by quick-thinking co-passengers

A 22-year-old woman’s decision to get off a slowing train in Thane on March 22 and a shorter stop than usual for a fast train in Dadar yesterday led to her and a 10-year-old boy having a close brush with death in a span of less than 10 days.

CCTV grabs show 22-year-old Poonam Shewale slipping and falling into the gap at Thane station and (below) being carried out on a stretcher
CCTV grabs show 22-year-old Poonam Shewale slipping and falling into the gap at Thane station and (below) being carried out on a stretcher

While Poonam Shewale (22) from Vikhroli suffered a head injury and jaw as well as hand fractures, the 10-year-old boy from Rajkot escaped with minor scratches after being pulled back into the train by quick-thinking fellow passengers.

Ill-considered move
Shewale, a TYBA student of Vikas Night College in Vikhroli East, was on her way home from Pune on March 22, when the incident took place. She had gone to Pune for an interview for the post of a clerk, which she had cleared and was supposed to join the organisation in two months.

Shewale was returning on the Hyderabad Express, which slowed down at Thane station due to a signal around 12.50 pm, and passengers began alighting even though the train wasn’t supposed to stop at the station.

Since it would have been easier for Shewale to get home from Thane, she also tried to get off the running train, but fell into the gap between the platform and the train. She didn’t fall all the way to the tracks and remained stuck in the gap even as a few coaches passed by before the train came to a halt.

Shankar Mujgaud, a GRP constable at Thane station, who helped save Shewale, said that she had a lucky escape. “I was taking a round of the station when I noticed a commotion at platform 6, towards the CST end.

By the time I reached, I saw that the train had come to a halt and Shewale was stuck between the platform and the train. I pulled her up and called a licensed porter and others to help take her to an ambulance. I checked the last dialled number on her phone and informed them about the incident.

She was immediately moved to Thane Civil Hospital,” said Mujgaud. The last dialled number was of Shewale’s cousin in Pune, who then informed her family in Mumbai. “We were waiting for her to come home. When we received the call from our Pune relatives, we rushed to JJ Hospital, since she had been moved there by 3.20 pm.

She was operated upon the same night and doctors informed us that her condition was critical due to heavy blood loss. We are thankful that we got her back from the jaws of death,” said Laxmi, her mother. Shewale underwent an operation yesterday, for her fractured right hand.

“Her condition was critical when she was brought in and we had to transfuse six bags of blood because of the heavy blood loss. She has been kept under observation after her surgery today (Monday). Thankfully, she had not suffered any brain injuries,” said a doctor at JJ Hospital.

'Short stop'

The Vajir family from Rajkot was trying to alight from a CST-bound fast train at Dadar station at 12.26 pm yesterday to catch a train back home. While Hemant Vajir (45) and his daughter managed to get down successfully, his son and wife were still in the train when it began moving.

Hemant Vajir (45)  and his 10-year-old son, who suffered minor scratches in the fall, thanks to Kiran Kamte (below) and another passenger, who quickly pulled him into the train. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
Hemant Vajir (45)  and his 10-year-old son, who suffered minor scratches in the fall, thanks to Kiran Kamte (below) and another passenger, who quickly pulled him into the train. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

The wife and son tried to get off the train just as it began gathering pace, but the 10-year-old slipped and started getting dragged along the platform. But for two fellow passengers reacting quickly, the boy would have fallen onto the tracks. Kiran Kamte, one of the passengers who pulled the boy up, said, “The boy was extremely lucky to have survived with minor injuries.


Kiran Kamte

Had we not pulled him up on time, he would surely have gone under the train. I accompanied the woman and the child back to Dadar station where the father was waiting. We even complained to the station master about the delay in the running of trains, because of which motormen take shorter halts at stations to compensate,” said Kamte.

Up in arms
In the meantime, a crowd had gathered at Dadar station to protest against the short halt. Kamte said that people were furious at the station since it has become a regular practice for CST-bound fast trains to halt at Dadar barely for 15 to 20 seconds which aren’t enough for passengers to get down, leading to such incidents.

When mid-day spoke to the station master, he admitted that the train stopped for a relatively short period, “The boy was not injured severely, but I am aware that the train stopped for a short period. I’ll inform higher authorities about the incident,” he said.

The 10-year-old was given first aid at Dadar station and the family decided to take their train to Rajkot as per schedule, without reporting the incident or filing any complaint. “Hemant Vajir said he didn’t want any more trouble and, since, his boy had escaped without major injuries, he just wanted to go back home. The family didn’t register any complaint,” said Senior Inspector D N Shinde of Dadar Railway Police Station.

PRO speak
Central Railway PRO A K Singh, however, termed the allegations about the short halt “baseless”. “Halt timings are fixed according to the station, hour of day and crowd. The guard ensures that all passengers have got off and on and only then does he signal the motorman to start the train. So, this allegation about short halt time is baseless,” he said.

Hemant Vajir (45) and his 10-year-old son, who suffered minor scratches in the fall, thanks to Kiran Kamte (below) and another passenger, who quickly pulled him into the train. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

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