The train ride through hell

Jun 18, 2012, 06:56 IST | Nivedita Dargalkar

While no casualties were reported from Saturday's disaster, passengers were caught in panic-stricken stampedes, robbed of valuables, and left lying on the tracks with their injuries unattended

While Western Railway (WR) officials are heaving a collective sigh of relief over the fact that no casualties were reported in Saturday’s rail disaster, the passengers who were affected by the accident have a different, hellish set of memories to retell.

Disaster: Soon after the mishap, chaos followed as passengers rushed out of the trains.

These hapless passengers claim that the experience was nightmarish — while some were robbed of their valuables in the panic-stricken stampede that followed the accident, other injured passengers were left unattended.

Salim Khan fractured his left ribcage in the accident. Pics/Satyajit Desai, Nivedita Dargalkar

Aiyappan Subramanium (29), who was travelling on the Virar-bound local with his mother Manimegla Subramanium (49), said, “We boarded the train at Churchgate. My mother was seated on the floor. As soon as the other train collided with ours, there was a massive jerk. Passengers inside the compartment panicked and started rushing outside.

My mother tried getting up, but was caught in the flood of passengers rushing outwards and she was trampled. In the chaos, someone robbed my mother’s mobile phone and purse with Rs 2,000 in it.” Manimegla sustained injuries to her head and throat, and is now undergoing treatment at Cooper hospital.

Thirty-two-year-old Saed Akhtar also recounted the horror of finding his brother lying unattended in a pool of his blood, after the collision. Saed said, “Hearing about the collision, I headed to Andheri station to check if my brother had been on one of the trains. I saw him lying in a pool of blood near the tracks, his head seriously injured. No one had noticed him. I immediately raised the alarm and the officials then took him to a hospital for treatment.”

Rekul received stitches and is also being treated at Cooper hospital. Twenty-one-year-old Salim Khan, who was travelling in the Churchgate-bound train, fractured his left ribcage in the accident.

He said, “After the collision, the compartment lurched back and forth, and hitting the vertical rod on the footboard, I experienced an excruciating pain in my chest.” Khan is receiving treatment at the BSES Hospital in Andheri. Five other injured passengers were taken to the same hospital for minor injuries and trauma, and were discharged shortly after.  

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