Orissa train accident victims recount night of horror

February 14th, 2009 - 1:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Feb 14 (IANS) Santosh Prajapti, who was travelling on the Howrah-Chennai Coromandel Express, got up to charge his mobile phone when suddenly the lights went out followed by a loud noise. On stepping out of his coach, he saw people trapped under mangled bogies and realised that the train had derailed.

“I went outside and saw many people shouting for help. I saw the train had derailed. Boggies were laying over one another. We rescued some people, including a small child, but many were trapped under mangled coaches and we were helpless,” Prajapati, a resident of Bihar, told IANS.

At least nine people were killed and about 150 were injured in the accident that occured Friday evening near the Jajpur-Keonjhar Road railway station, about 120 km from here.

“It was a horrible night. I was holding a cup of tea in my hand when the train suddenly jerked and it splashed on my body. Luggage fell on the passengers. We could hear people screaming for help,” said Jitendra Pradad Das, a journalist.

“It was dark and we saw there was a spark of light. We rushed to the spot and saw the train had derailed,” said Rabindra Rout, a resident of a nearby village who rushed to the spot minutes after the accident.

“People were screaming for help. We rescued many people in critical condition,” he added.

“The superfast train was carrying about 1,500 passengers. As many as 14 coaches have been badly affected,” said Orissa Director General of Police Manmohan Praharaj.

Officials said the reason of the accident is not yet known.

“The injured were rushed to local hospitals, where they are undergoing treatment. Some of them are serious,” said Praharaj.

A high level team of railway ministry officials led by Minister of State for Railways R. Velu visited the accident site early Saturday.

“The team comprising of senior officials of the railway ministry, including railway board chairman S.S. Khurana, made an on the spot assessment and returned to New Delhi,” said East Coast Railway chief public relation officer J.P. Mishra.

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