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Utkal Express derailment: Survivors recall ‘horrific’ accident, thank rescuers

Several coaches of the Kalinga Utkal Express fell off the track on Saturday in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, killing around 20 people and injuring dozens more.

india Updated: Aug 20, 2017 20:28 IST
Agencies
Agencies
Muzaffarnagar
Utkal Express,Kalinga Utkal Express,Utkal Express derailment
A survivor of the Utkal Express train derailment sits at a temple in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar on Sunday.(PTI)

Volunteers donated blood, locals brought water and food, and a group of people that included Muslims rescued a Hindu holy man from a mangled coach. Survivors of the train derailment in Khatauli thanked good Samaritans who spent hours and hours helping the victims after several coaches of the Kalinga Utkal Express fell off the track, killing around 20 people and injuring dozens more.

Dazed survivors on Sunday recounted the horrific train disaster near Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, saying the death toll would have been much more but for the timely help rendered by residents.

Everyone said the locals rescued dozens of trapped passengers from the mangled coaches of the train and rushed them to hospitals, much before the official rescue operation began.

Survivor of the Utkal Express train derailment sit at a temple in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar on Sunday. (PTI)

A passenger from Rajasthan said he was in the S2 coach that dramatically crashed into a house-cum-school.

“I was about to take a nap when I suddenly felt a severe jolt. I thought the driver applied emergency brakes, but by then I saw the coaches jumping off the tracks,” IANS quoted the passenger as saying.

He said he was rescued by the residents of the house. “They came out quickly and a group of people brought me out of the coach.”

The survivors said the locals provided water and food not only to them but also to everyone engaged in rescue work.

A Hindu holy man said he was rescued by a group of people that included Muslims.

“I was trapped in the S2 coach but a group of Muslim people heard my screams and brought me out,” he said with a sense of gratitude.

A survivor from Gwalior said he lost one of his family members.

“I was going to Haridwar with my wife, our two children and the son of my elder brother. Just two minutes before the accident, my nephew went to the washroom and then everything crashed,” he said in a choking voice.

A group of volunteers from the Bharatiya Kisan Union donated blood at the hospital.

An eyewitness said he and others brought out several bodies, some with their parts missing.

“We saw the coaches jump over five feet in the air and then crash on one another. It was devastating to take out the mangled bodies,” he said.

Another said stones laid along the tracks flew in all directions when the accident occurred.

Khatauli’s residents blamed the railways because the maintenance work was only half done. “The repair work was going on. But when it started raining, the workers left the site,” said a resident.

Mohammed Dilshad, a 48-year-old from Muzaffarnagar who frequently takes the Utkal Express for Delhi where he works, was inside the S2 coach.

“We were all hanging precariously in the carriage. Many of my fellow passengers suffered terrible injuries. All I recall is that there was a very loud and continuous thud and then the bogie swerved over another,” he said at the district hospital.

Shariq Nasim, 32, says he is getting nightmares. “I got hit on my head. Also, my leg is broken. Mere thought of the accident terrifies me,” he said.

First Published: Aug 20, 2017 20:22 IST