Honda City accident: Slum dwellers set an example for ‘heartless’ Delhiites
Responding to the car accident that left three dead in Punjabi Bagh on Monday, a group of slum dwellers showed the way to a city that is notorious for public apathy towards accident victims.
Santosh, who works odd jobs for a living, was seated outside his jhuggi located barely 50 metres from the accident spot when he heard a loud screeching sound.
“I thought two cars had collided on the flyover above. I looked up to see a car crash through the railing and fall below. It had turned upside down after the fall,” said Santosh, guessing that the car was travelling at a speed of 60-70 km/hr.
Calling out to his neighbours, he immediately rushed to the car to help its occupants. “All the seven inside were unconscious and piled up on each other. I don’t think anyone was moving or calling out for help,” said Santosh.
When the locals tried to open the car’s doors, they found them to be locked from inside. “We first tried to remove the broken glass panes of the car, but that was not enough to pull out the victims,” said Mithilesh Yadav, another local.
The slum dwellers then brought out hammers and bricks as they went about breaking open the doors even as one of them called the police. A few others climbed the car’s bonnet to help with opening the car’s doors.
Eyewitnesses said it took about 15 minutes to rescue all the occupants and an additional five minutes for the police to reach the spot.
“We did not have any motor vehicles and it was not practically possible to drive any car down from the flyover. So, we decided to load the victims on our cycle carts and pedal them up the flyover so that they could be rushed to hospital,” said Manish Kumar, another eyewitness in Delhi.
Fortunately, police vehicles arrived just as they were about to load the injured on the carts. The victims were taken away to different hospitals in three police vehicles.
Vijay Kumar, DCP (west), lauded the efforts of the slum dwellers. “They did everything within their means to rescue the victims before the police could arrive at the spot. The damage could have been greater if not for the locals,” said the DCP.
The rescuers knew soon after the accident that the victims they were dealing with were students. “There were so many books in the car. When police arrived, they even found identity cards which confirmed they were students,” said Santosh.
The locals said that the casualty count could possibly have been higher had the car landed on the railway tracks passing just a few feet from where the car had landed. “One train passed by less than five minutes after the car fell,” said Santosh.