A derailed Janata Express was stranded on the tracks when Kamayani Express came running from the opposite direction, eyewitnesses said, after the twin train derailment incident in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday.
Kamayani Express was unaware of the danger that lay ahead, according to an eyewitness. The train derailed on the submerged tracks, sending a panic wave among the passengers in the dark, rainy night.
Tax consultant Shashi Bhushan Pandit, a resident of Harda town who boarded the Kamayani Express at Khandwa, said he was sitting in a general compartment when he heard a loud sound. He got off the train to help others.
“I could have saved some of them, but it was a pitch dark. The water level on the track was almost waist-high. The current was swift. I chose to come back to my compartment," he said, recounting the accident that killed at least 20 people.
Read: Rescue ops on after MP twin train derailment, casualties feared
When railway personnel reached the spot, Pandit said he and other passengers shouted at them to delink the engine and bogies that were safe. Some sleeper bogies were hanging from the bridge, he said.
Sandeep Tripathi, a resident of Bhadohi in Uttar Pradesh, said he was travelling in the S-11 compartment when he heard an explosion-like sound.
“There were at least 50 passengers in my compartment. It was complete dark."
Manoj Mongi, a resident of Muzaffarnagar on board the Kamayani Express, said: "I was sleeping and suddenly I felt a jolt. I woke up and saw that all the passengers were screaming and running.
"I came out. I saw three women floating, but could not save them."
Police said the driver of the Janata Express saw the railway track submerged in water and stopped the train.
The mishap took place at Kudwa, about 18km from the district headquarters Harda, which is between Bhirangi and Khirakia railway stations.