Chaos prevailed near Jhar village in Jaipur district on Saturday.
When the driver of the Jodhpur-Delhi Mandor Superfast Express suddenly applied the brakes because of poor visibility, 15 coaches of the New Delhi-bound train flew off tracks and six people died.
Where the derailment happened between Jhar and Jathwara sessions, normal life was thrown off gear by a flurry of rescue operations.
The accident, in which 19 people were injured, happened at 1.30 am on Saturday.
By early morning, officials with the help of the villagers had shifted the injured to SMS Hospital in Jaipur.
“We saw at least three bodies being taken out from the damaged bogeys,” said one of the villagers. It is likely that more people were trapped beneath the overturned bogies.
Of the six killed, four bodies could be identified.
Villagers said the train might have been speeding on a section that was under maintenance.
Mithilesh Kumar, 26, of Patelo ki Dhani said: “Two other trains that passed earlier, blew long whistles, but for this I did not hear any whistle I only heard a loud thud as it overturned.”
An enquiry has been ordered into the cause of the accident.
Apparently, the railway staff and other rescuers did not take much time in reaching the spot. They were joined by villagers and those passing through the Jaipur-Agra National Highway. They together helped the passengers get out of the overturned coaches.
An ambulance driver said that one passerby informed the cops at Bassi police station, about 5 km from the site, about the mishap.
Bharti Devi, 40, who lives about 50 meter from the track said she was in deep sleep when her cot shook and then she heard a loud sound.
Another eyewitness Rampal Meena, 50, said a doctor who was travelling in one of the coaches helped a lot. “He gave first aid to the injured,” Meena said.
Stranded passengers were taken to Delhi and Jaipur in Rajasthan Roadways buses.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot visited the accident site. He met the injured at SMS Hospital. Former CM Vasundhra Raje also met the injured travellers at the hospital.
She woke up to find chaos all around
Sitting in her house in New Friend’s Colony, Nishi Seth waited anxiously for the cab to arrive from Jaipur on Saturday afternoon.
Her daughter Rukmini, who was a survivor of the Mandore Express derailment, was to come home.
Seth said Rukmini was in shock because she saw her friend die. “Her friend was sitting next to her,” she said.
Rukmini, a National Law School student, had suffered a minor head injury. “She has been crying at the slightest mention of the accident. Who can stand the pain of losing a close friend in such a horrible manner,” said Seth.
Seth said Rukmini suffered a minor head injury. “I will take her straight for a head scan.”
In another part of the city, Shyamal Mukherjee was waiting for the bus from Jaipur to arrive at Bikaner House.
That bus carried his daughter Shreya, another National Law School student in Jodhpur.
“She sounded traumatised,” said Mukherjee, standing amid a group of people waiting for the same bus carrying survivors of the Mandore Express. “She said she woke up with a start to find chaos all around.”
For A.K. Singh, an engineer with the Power Grid Corporation in Rajasthan, the journey back home to Bihar became a horror. “I am lucky to be alive,” he said. Singh was thrown off this upper berth.
“My first reaction was that I was going to die,” said Singh.
Another Delhi resident Manish Chouhan, a Nagloi resident, was grievously hurt and under treatment in Jaipur.
A train sent from Delhi to fetch the passengers returned midway after railway officials in Jaipur said Delhi-bound passengers had left by a state bus.
Some of the passengers said they were asked to pay the bus fare, but Railways rubbished it. “We verified the authenticity of the passengers... They were not asked to pay anything for the transportation,” said V.K. Shukla, senior deputy commercial manager, North-Western Railway.