‘For the second time that day, my world crumbled’ | india | Hindustan Times
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‘For the second time that day, my world crumbled’

Pratima Manna, 58, boarded the Coromandel Express on February 13 at Howrah with her husband and brother. She recounts the horror she lived through that evening.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2009 14:38 IST

Pratima Manna, 58, boarded the Coromandel Express on February 13 at Howrah with her husband and brother. She recounts the horror she lived through that evening.

It was around 7.50 pm. I was sitting on a lower berth (of an AC III bogey) when suddenly, there was a horrible, screeching sound; the entire train started careening violently from side to side.

Passengers began screaming, luggage came tumbling down and the train overturned. I was terrified and thought we were going to die. However, I was relieved when I caught a glimpse of my husband Laxmi Narayan Manna, 63, and my brother Shyamal Mazumdar just before the lights went out.

There was a strong smell of something burning; this made breathing difficult. I was worried about my husband, who was travelling to Andhra Pradesh for a cardiac operation, but he assured me he was fine.

We lay trapped inside the overturned bogey for an eternity. Finally, rescuers reached us and brought us out. I said a quick prayer and thanked God.

Then, suddenly, for the second time that day, my world crumbled in front of my eyes. My husband, who was very much alive when he was brought out, collapsed. We rushed him to hospital. I was told this morning he has passed away.

I have a severe pain in my back but I want to go home soon. I’m waiting for my husband’s post-mortem report. Once I get it, I’ll return with his body.

As told to Soumyajit Pattnaik