It was at 7.23 a.m. that the 108 ambulance’s emergency response centre received a call from a woman who identified herself as Subha about the bomb blast at the Chennai Central Railway Station. Exactly eight minutes later, the first ambulance rolled into the railway station.
The caller was in a state of shock and struggled for words. At the call centre, emergency response officer D. Rajagopal tried to get as much information as possible. The caller said several persons were injured but did not know what had happened.
Mr. Rajagopal immediately alerted the ambulance stationed at Madras High Court, which reached the site at 7.31 a.m. Pilot L. Thimmaraj and emergency medical technician (EMT) Rafeeq Kannu rushed inside, unaware that two bombs had gone off inside a train.
“We were informed that there was a train traffic accident. We did not expect that many will be injured. Many sustained injuries on their hands and legs,” said Mr. Kannu.
As seconds flew by, 12 more 108 ambulances joined the rescue operation. C. Seetha, another EMT stationed near Ripon Building, landed at the station four minutes after the first vehicle. As she took a batch of patients to GH, she did not wait for a stretcher and rushed to the station again.
“I decided to use the spine board that is available in the vehicle to bring in the other injured,” she added.