When autorickshaw driver Riaz Mohammed set out from Parry’s to T. Nagar, he thought he had a plum savaari (ride). He had no clue it would be interrupted by a toppled MTC bus on the way.
“It was around 1.30 p.m. As we neared Gemini flyover, we heard a thud and I knew something had gone wrong. I parked my vehicle and rushed to the spot,” said the 24-year-old, describing the shocking first images of a fallen bus and passengers in pain, crying for help.
Riaz spent the next couple of hours at the spot, helping passengers and the police in the recue effort, and returned to his home in Mannadi only in the evening.
“It was frightening. I called the 108 ambulance service thrice, but it took 30 minutes for the first ambulance to arrive. Thankfully, an ambulance from Apollo Hospitals came sooner,” said Riaz.
One could easily mistake the young man for a college student. “I studied only till class VIII, and have been riding an autorickshaw for the past three years,” he said.
According to him, it was traffic police personnel who rushed to the spot first, followed by other policemen. Along with a few people who had gathered at the spot, shopkeepers from nearby outlets and policemen, Riaz helped several passengers, including the bus driver, out of the fallen vehicle.
On what happened to his passengers, “I asked them to find another vehicle. They even offered to pay me the amount we had agreed upon. But I refused to take the money. There was an emergency here and I had to do my best.”