BALASORE – Gura Pallay was watching another train pass by which he was sitting when he heard a sudden loud screeching. Before he could make sense of what was happening, he was thrown off the train.
Pallay, 24, landed next to the tracks along with the metal remains of the train he was riding on and instantly lost consciousness. The first thing he saw when he opened his eyes was the twisted remains of three trains on the tracks.
His train had derailed after colliding with a stopped freight train. Another passenger train, the one he had seen passing moments before, had crashed into the derailed carriages.
“I saw it with my own eyes, but I still can’t describe what I saw. It haunts me,” she said Sunday at a hospital, where she lay on a gurney with a broken leg and dark wounds on her face and arms.
Pallay is a laborer, like most of the people aboard the two passenger trains that crashed on Friday in the eastern state of Odisha, killing 275 people and injuring hundreds. He was traveling to the southern Indian city of Chennai to work in a paper mill when the Coromandel Express collided with a freight train, derailing it, and was then struck by a second train coming from the opposite direction. . parallel track.
“I never imagined that something like this could happen, but I guess it was our fate,” he said.
Investigators said Sunday that a signaling failure could have caused the crash of three trains, one of the worst railway disasters in the history of the country. Authorities recommended that India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, which investigates major criminal cases, open an investigation into the accident.
“We cannot bring back those we have lost, but the government is with the families in their pain. Anyone found guilty will be severely punished,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday while visiting the crash site.
The accident occurred as the Modi government is focusing on the modernization of India’s colonial-era railway network.
Several survivors of the crash said they were still struggling to understand the disaster.
“Everything happened so fast,” said Subhashish Patra, a student who was traveling with his family from Balasore to the state capital, Bhubaneswar, on the Coromandel Express. He planned to take his mother to a hospital in Bhubaneswar for treatment of a hand injury and then travel to Puri, home to one of Odisha’s most important temples.
The first thing Patra could understand after the accident was the sound of children crying. People screamed for help in the dark, and around them lay corpses.
“There were corpses all around me,” he said.
Patra said that the train car she was in landed with the door up. She climbed on a pile of rubble inside the train and managed to get out.
At the hospital on Sunday, Patra’s head was wrapped in gauze as she awaited an MRI. He said he had a headache, but he was thankful that he and all of his family had survived.
Others were not so lucky.
Alaudin, who goes by only one name, traveled nearly 200 kilometers (124.3 miles) from West Bengal state to the crash site on Saturday to search for his brother, who was aboard one of the trains.
He found out about the accident on television. When she tried to call her brother’s cell phone to check on him, no one answered.
Concerned, he and his sister-in-law rushed to the scene of the accident and spent the whole of Saturday looking for him at various hospitals, hoping he was alive. But the whereabouts of his brother were unknown, as the death toll continued to rise.
Distraught, they finally made their way to the morgue, where they wrapped the body of Alaudin’s brother in a black plastic bag and placed it on blocks of melted ice.
“I lost my brother, she lost her husband,” Alaudin said, pointing to her sister-in-law. “And her two children have lost a father.”
His brother was 36 years old, Alaudin said.
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