Personnel at Victoria Hospital did not have much information

For family members and friends of passengers of the Bangalore City-Nanded Express it was an agonising wait at Victoria Hospital where they had gathered with hopes of getting information about their loved ones.

The B1 coach of the train caught fire in Anantapur district on Saturday morning.

The police personnel manning a makeshift help desk at Victoria Hospital did not have much information about survivors and the injured.

Though the Railway authorities released the list of passengers travelling in the B1 coach that caught fire, anxiety among those who had gathered at Victoria Hospital was palpable. The police personnel, though courteous, could only collect information provided by family members and request them to wait till the bodies arrived.

Four ambulances brought 26 bodies, including that of two children to Bangalore. While two ambulances arrived at around 4.30 p.m., the third followed soon. However, the fourth ambulance, which had a problem on the way, came later. Two ambulances carried seven bodies each and the other two carried six bodies each.

The senior Railway authorities met the waiting relatives at around 5 p.m. to explain to them the procedure about identifying bodies and handing them over to the families concerned. The tentative list of survivors was released to the family during the meeting.

The wait for those who had gathered at Victoria Hospital became agonising when the authorities informed them that they could start the process of identifying bodies only after the Andhra Pradesh police and Railway authorities, who had done the mahazar, reached Victoria Hospital.

Umesh, whose family members including his mother are missing, said: “We have not got any information about our family members here. The wait has been very long. We are worried.”

Suchaitra, the daughter-in law of 70-year-old S.R. Krishnamurthy, a music critic from Mysore, was seeking information about him from the police personnel, but to no avail.

Anxiety among those waiting since afternoon increased when they got the information that some bodies were being identified based on ornaments or identity cards found on them.

So much so that S.T. Somashekar, president of the Karnataka State Cooperative Federation, spoke to Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge, seeking his intervention.

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