There was complete chaos on Platform No. 1 of Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station here on Wednesday afternoon when the ill-fated Mewar Express arrived at 1-45 p.m., seven and a half hours behind schedule.
The shock on the faces of passengers said it all. Many among them had had a miraculous escape when the Delhi-bound Goa Express rammed the Mewar Express at Mathura in the early hours of Wednesday, leaving 22 people dead and over a score injured.
Sixty-seven-year-old Nagina Begum was on her way back from Udaipur after getting her eight-year-old physically handicapped grandson Rajkumar operated when she was suddenly jolted out of sleep. “My grandson’s leg was already in a plaster after the surgery. When the accident tool place, people fell over us and his leg got squeezed. I am worried that his recovery will take much longer now,” she added.
Recalling the moment of impact, another passenger, Rakesh Sharma, said: “I was fast sleep on the lower berth when I suddenly felt the weight of three other passengers on me and got knocked out of my berth. Before I could realise what had happened there was a stampede inside the train. Everyone was trying to get out from the passage strewn with bags and suitcases. Some people were also shouting that someone had pulled the chain.”
Anxious relatives waiting at the platform also recounted their nightmare. Twenty-five-year-old Geeta Chander said: “As soon as I heard about the accident I called up the helpline number praying that my sister all right. She was returning from a vacation in Goa. With each failed attempt to get through the helpline number, tension mounted. Finally when I got through and was informed about my sister’s safety I burst into tears. I hope no one ever has to go through the terrible ordeal of finding out about the condition of their loved ones this way.”
A makeshift help desk to attend to queries about the injured and dead was set up on the platform.
A team of doctors was present to administer first-aid to passengers in need. A notice board behind the desk displayed the list of diverted and cancelled trains following the accident.