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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Amritsar train accident: Hospitals battle confusion, chaos to treat victims

Eyewitnesses said it took a long time for ambulances to reach the congested area that became even more inaccessible because of the rescue operation by volunteers and the state police.

india Updated: Oct 20, 2018 00:03 IST
Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Relatives of victims after a train accident at Civil Hospital in Amritsar, India, on Friday, October 19, 2018.
Relatives of victims after a train accident at Civil Hospital in Amritsar, India, on Friday, October 19, 2018. (Sameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times)
         

There was grief, confusion and panic at the Amritsar Civil hospital and the Guru Nanak Dev hospital as several people injured at the Joda Phatak Dussehra celebration were brought for emergency treatment by relatives and friends still coming to terms with the scale of the tragedy that left scores dead and at least 80 injured.

In the corridors of the hospitals, people were seen crying or venting their anger with the district administration as the hospital staff rushed to treat the injured. Many of the victims are migrant labourers who had gathered to watch the festivities.

Eyewitnesses said it took a long time for ambulances to reach the congested area that became even more inaccessible because of the rescue operation by volunteers and the state police.

“At least 80 patients have been brought here. Of them, 30 have succumbed to injuries. The condition of 25 patients is very serious,” said the senior medical officer at the Amritsar Civil hospital Dr Rajinder Arora.

The injured were coming in to the hospitals till after 10pm. Hospital authorities said they have requested the services of nearly 100 doctors from other institutions in Amritsar and the neighbouring districts of Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur.

Ram Singh, a migrant labourer who stayed near the accident lost four members of his family, including his daughter Kusum, nephew Neetu, sister Nirmala and sister’s daughter-in-law in the accident.

“It was all over in the flash,” he said, still reeling from the shock.

There were many people at the hospital who were trying to search for family members missing after the accident.

The chief guest at the Dussehra festival, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, the wife of Congress minister and Amritsar (East) MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu, came to the civil hospital to meet the injured.

“The effigy of Ravana was burnt and I had just left the site when the incident happened. Priority should be to get the injured treated,” she said.