Sukumar Banerjee’s five relatives, including two children aged five and ten years, died in Friday’s mishap.
They were all in S5, one of the four derailed bogies of Gyaneshwari Express that were crushed by the goods train, but Banerjee was some distance away from them, at one end of the bogie.
That’s why he is alive.
Banerjee (49) along with the family members of his two brothers-in-law was going to attend a sacred thread ceremony of another relative in Rourkela.
While Banerjee is a resident of Nadia district, his relatives were from Domkol in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district.
“My younger brother-in-law had booked all their tickets in April while I booked it in May. This made the difference,” he said. “While they got their berths together I was separated. Their berths were from 33 to 36, while mine was 63,” Banerjee said, with bleary eyes. “They are all dead.”
Like most other passengers they had gone to sleep before 12am. Around 12.35 am, the train reached Kharagpur. Everything seemed normal.
Around 1.15 am, Banerjee heard a loud sound and fell off his seat. “I could feel that the train had turned on its side and was dragging along the tracks,” he said.
Passengers screamed for help.
The bogie dragged for what seemed like a couple of minutes before it came to a halt, he said.
Then, a few seconds of silence, Banerjee recalled.
“A little later we heard another loud sound and the bogie shook violently. It then started to be dragged again,” he said, describing the moment when the goods train ran over the bogies. “We could feel that it was being pushed by something, and something was smashing through all barriers to advance towards my berth,” he said.
It was after many more minutes that he would start counting those he had lost.