Habibul Gazi, 24, with his frail five-and-a-half-foot frail frame, does not look capable of saving more than a dozen passengers from the jaws of death.
But his blood-stained shirt tells the story of his valiant effort.
A passenger of the S7 compartment of the Gyaneshwari Express, one of the worst hit in Friday’s accident, Gazi stood at Howrah station lamenting his inability to save a four-year-old who died in front of his eyes.
If he had his way, Gazi could have saved 15 lives.
“I could not save the kid. He died in front my eyes and I was standing like a spectator. I did pull out the child from the heap of flesh, but by that time, he was already dead,” said the man, breaking into tears.
But Gazi was a man of steel as, about 12 hours ago, he worked among mangled steel and flesh and blood to rescue 14 co-passengers in complete darkness.
According to him, the rescue team around 3.30 am, while the train derailed at 1.30 am.
“As I reached compartments S3, S4 and S5, I saw people lying in pools of blood. Some of them were frantically trying to extricate themselves from the wreckage but couldn’t,” said Gazi, who works as a driver at a construction company in Mumbai.
“I saw a woman lying outside the compartment and helplessly crying for help. She was pleading with anyone she met to rescue her son who got stuck inside. I entered the bogie and brought out the child. But when I handed the child to the lady, she fainted,” he recalled.
The image of the unknown woman with the body of her son in her arms under the night sky would haunt him for the rest of his life, Gazi said.