Family pilgrimage turns tragic

Family pilgrimage turns tragic

A pilgrimage to Mantralayam in Andhra Pradesh turned tragic for Chennai-based banker N Natesh and seven of his family. They were travelling by the Bangalore-Nanded Express that caught fire early on Saturday morning.

Three of Natesh’s relatives died in the fire. Natesh and his five-year-old daughter Tanushree are undergoing treatment at St John’s Hospital here. His wife Vijetha was being treated as an out-patient. But, Natesh’s mother Leela (63) and Vijetha’s siblings Sudha (60) and Ramanandam (65) perished in the fire.

Natesh, Vijetha and Tanushree were on upper berths. “I saw the curtains caught fire. I first asked my wife to jump out, promising her that I would take the child out of the burning coach,” Natesh told Deccan Herald.

A resident of Chromepet in Chennai, Natesh said as there were no emergency exits, they had no choice but to break open glass panes in toilet windows to escape. “My brother Umesh broke open the window and we managed to jump out. Many people were stuck inside. Since this coach was not inter-connected with others bogies, it was tough to escape,” he added.

Natesh and his family had to walk a kilometre as nobody came to their rescue. He had to carry his daughter despite suffering burns on his right hand and right leg. “We had to walk in the dark looking for some aid. Finally, we found an ambulance,” he recalled.

Another passenger, Tanushree, is being treated at the hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. She is said to be stable. Hospital sources said though Tanushree suffered facial burns, she was able to breathe without external support.

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