‘It sounded like a blast’ | india | Hindustan Times
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‘It sounded like a blast’

There was utter panic as a concrete-and-metal bridge bearing a water pipeline collapsed on a Kalyan-bound train near Thane station on Friday morning.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2009 01:03 IST

There was utter panic as a concrete-and-metal bridge bearing a water pipeline collapsed on a Kalyan-bound train near Thane station on Friday morning.

People from neighbouring areas rushed in but could not evacuate those stuck in the mangled front bogie.

“I boarded the train at 10.42 am from Mulund. When it reached the Kopri bridge, there was blast-like sound. The water pipe burst and the train started shaking violently. As I tried to grab a handle for support, I fell out of the train,” said Anil Pawar (32), a Mulund resident.

As two bodies were removed and the Central Railway (CR) rescue team began removing the rubble, the anger was palpable. Commuters and residents blamed CR for leaving the bridge work unfinished for seven years.

However, CR spokesperson AK Singh blamed the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), saying: “We have been awaiting TMC permission to complete the work for a long time.”

As the rescue operation continued into the evening, workers complained of exhaustion.

Locals came to the spot to see the damage. “These people don’t understand that they are a hindrance,” said a policeman, who had to keep pushing back the gawkers to ensure rescue work was not affected. Eventually, the police had to resort to a lathi charge as commuters trudging along the tracks looked on.

The roads were choked in the eastern suburbs as commuters took alternative transport.

At Thane Civil Hospital, motorman R. Ramachandran’s neighbour Shailesh Sawant (42) accused the railways of delaying the rescue. “Why did it take three hours to take out his body? He could have been saved if he was brought to the hospital earlier.”

The body of commuter Subhash Nikam (38) was unclaimed till evening. He is survived by wife Satyabhama (35), daughter Suvarna (14) and son Sushant (16). “He worked as a wireman in Kalyan. Somebody called my cousin, a station master, and informed him of the tragedy,” said Satyabhama’s brother NB Ahire.

Twelve people were injured, of which two were serious.

Of these, Harishchandra Shinde (70), Sahil Shinde (11), Vijaysingh Kharvar (22), Pawar, Hemant Choladankar (18), Pradip Joshi (64) and Vilas Morye (60) were shifted to Wockhardt Hospital, Mulund, while Kirpalsingh Chithodia (45) was moved to
Sion Hospital.

Deepak Bhoir (40), Ramesh Velkar (35) and Pravin Petkar (23) are at Thane Civil Hospital.