Bus driver's presence of mind averts major tragedy

Bus driver's presence of mind averts major tragedy

A loco pilot (Accident relief medical van) moves without any signal at the level crossing near Srinagar Circle in KU premises on Thursday. Also seen in the picture is the bus which had a providential escape. DH Photo

Over 40 passengers travelling in a Karnataka State Transport (KSRTC) bus would have lost their lives, had it not been for Shabbir Ahmad Mattewale, the bus driver whose presence of mind helped in saving their lives from being crushed under the bandwagons.

The incident occurred near the Shrinagar railway gate in Dharwad on Thursday. The city bus from CBT to Karnatak University was crossing the railway gate that was open and the passengers suddenly noticed a speeding train approaching the railway crossing. When they shouted, the driver of the bus Shabbir Ahmed Mattewale saw the train and pressed the accelerator taking the bus across the track to safety. The bus and the passengers had had a providential escape by a whisker.

A loco pilot (Accident relief medical van) with five bodies was moving from Kyarakoppa station towards Hubballi and the loco pilot was running the train without blowing the horn.

The train missed hitting the bus in a whisker of time and all 40 passengers on board heaved a big sigh of relief.

This incident evoked sharp criticism from the general public and also the passengers who charged the negligence of the Railway authorities would have cost 40 innocent lives.

An eye witness told DH that over 40 PG students, the staff of KUD and the general public were travelling in the bus bound to Pavate Nagar. when the bus was crossing the track near the Srinagar Circle, a train nearly hit them. However, the driver pushed the accelerator and saved them from being crushed under the bandwagons.

The gateman told that he did not receive any signal on the arrival of the loco pilot and hence, the railway gates on either side were kept open.

The railway authorities are yet to come out with the official version of the incident.

Shabbir was accorded a grand felicitation by the passengers and the general public who thanked him for saving their lives.

The level crossing near Srinagar has been under constant criticism from the public as they have been demanding to construct a Railway Over-bridge from last several years to contain such mishap. Based on their request, MP Prahlad Joshi was successful in getting funds sanctioned from the Centre. However, the ROB project did not take wings as the State Government has been delaying in sanctioning its share of the fund for the project.


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