All we could see were dead bodies: Survivors recount Odisha train accident

We saw the tragedy unfold in front of our eyes, a passenger on the Coromandel Express said
Last Updated : 03 June 2023, 13:40 IST

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“Within few minutes of the train crossing Balasore, we heard a huge sound and our coach started crashing onto the track. We didn’t really understand what was happening and only when we jumped out of the train a few minutes later, we saw the tragedy unfold in front of our eyes,” said 20-year-old Rajalakshmi, who was on board the Coromandel Express.

A student at the Loyola College here, Rajalakshmi was returning from Kolkata after completing her internship on the train which collided with another passenger train and a goods train on Friday. The girl student narrated the harrowing experience she and other passengers went through after taking a flight to Chennai from Bhubaneshwar.

Rajalakshmi, who was travelling in B8, a three-tier AC coach, said at least 15 coaches starting from the unreserved to sleeper to B5 were damaged completely and there was little chance of those travelling in it surviving.

“The person who was sitting next to me in B8 suffered minor injuries. Those travelling in coaches from B6 were a little lucky as many of us escaped unhurt. When I came out of the train, all we could see were train bogies and dead bodies strewn across tracks. I saw one coach fully overturned,” she added.

Rajalakshmi said she looked for a fire extinguisher as she smelled of a burnt cable but couldn’t find one in the melee. “All I can say is I am lucky enough to be talking to you today,” she said.

Ramesh, another passenger who travelled in an AC coach, said he saw cable falling onto the track and suddenly people falling from their train seats.

“We thought it was a minor accident. But it was not to be. And we could hear people seeking help everywhere. The villagers rushed to the tracks and tried to save as many as they could. We were shell-shocked and it took hours to realise what happened. Many people we saw were already dead. Some had no hands, some no legs,” Ramesh said.

The passenger said while villagers rushed immediately to help the victims, over half a dozen ambulances were at the spot within 20 to 30 minutes of the accident.

“The Odisha government did act very swiftly. We could see 30 to 40 ambulances and several fire personnel at the site within an hour of the accident. A few of us decided to go to Bhubaneshwar and return to Chennai by a flight,” Ramesh added.

Published 03 June 2023, 13:40 IST

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