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Saw coach jump into air, crash into my house: Man recounts Utkal Express crash

Fourteen coaches of the high-speed Utkal Express jumped the rails, with one of them crashing into a house adjacent to the track. The accident has left 23 dead and more than 60 injured.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2017 15:50 IST
S Raju
S Raju
Hindustan Times, Khatauli (Muzaffarnagar)
Kalinga Utkal Express‬,‪Muzaffarnagar‬,‪Uttar Pradesh‬
The S2 coach of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express juts into the house of Jagat Singh after the train derailed in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar on Saturday.(HT Photo)

Like most evenings, Jagat Singh was sitting in the front porch of his house watching trains go by when the Utkal Express derailed from the tracks barely 10 metres away.

“The train suddenly started shaking and many coaches derailed, ramming into each other. One of them launched into the air and crashed into my house,” said Singh, who is in his seventies.

Shortly before 6pm on Saturday, nearly 14 coaches of the Utkal Express went off the rails, killing at least 23 people and injuring scores more. Rescue workers raced overnight to reach several passengers who were trapped in the carriages, some of which had piled onto each other in a mangled heap of metal.

One of those carriages, S2, crashed into Singh’s house, jutting into his drawing room. The rest of the coach rested on his front porch, mere feet from where the septuagenarian was sitting.

The other end of the S2 coach is resting over the pantry coach with its doors shattered.

NDRF personnel, pressed into service for search and rescue operations, were seen pulling out bodies from the mangled coach that also rammed the boundary wall of an adjacent college.

“I saw workers on railway track run to save their lives, and afterwards, passengers screamed and cried for help. I saw a coach jumped in the air and it hit the walls of my house. My son somehow managed to drag me inside,” Singh said, recounting the moment of the accident.

Jagat Singh was hurt on his leg after the train crash. (HT Photo)

Singh was hurt on his leg by debris, and said the crash trapped members of his family inside.

“I have never seen such a horrific moment in my life. Coaches were ramming into each other and an entire carriage jumped into the air before hitting the walls of our house,” said Singh’s son Pintu Choudhary said

Jagat Singh is a respected member of the local community. The locality where the crash took place, Jagat colony, is named after him.

He and his family members resented that no one from the administration came to check on them.

(with agency inputs)

First Published: Aug 20, 2017 08:02 IST