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Insomnia saved ex-army jawan onboard Jnaneswari express

india Updated: May 29, 2010 20:05 IST
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An ex-Army personnel escaped death in the Jnaneswari Express tragedy as he is an insomniac, but five of his relatives who were sleeping in the S-5 coach of the ill-fated train were crushed to death.

"Five of my family members died as the goods train rammed into the passenger train where their berths were located," he said, sitting on the side of the tracks at Sardiha as rescuers lift the mangled coach from the tracks.

"Insomnia saved me. I grabbed a chain hanging from a side berth and was hanging from the top as the train tilted. All my co-passengers fell from the berths on the floor... Within a couple of minutes, the goods train smashed all of them," he said, wearing a tattered pant and vest.

Banerjee, a resident of Hoogly district in West Bengal, was going to attend a sacred thread ceremony in Rourkela when the derailment took place.

The victims are his brother-in-law Debjan Mukherjee (35), his wife Ananya Mukherjee (28) their son Ribon Mukherjee (5), Banerjee's another sister-in-law Chaitali Mukherjee and her daughter Papri Mukherjee (13).

"I reached the emergency exit and came out. Outside, it was pitch dark. Only sounds of groaning, cries and shrieks of pain were audible surrounding the mangled coaches of the train," Banerjee, who was in berth 64, recounted.

He approached the berths 33, 34, 35, 36 and soon realised that his relatives were killed in the accident. Their bodies were later extricated.