Railway Safety Commissioner orders probe; many trains cancelled

At least four persons died after 10 coaches of the Ernakulam-bound Nizamuddin-Ernakulam Mangala Lakshadweep Express derailed at Ghoti near the Igatpuri station in Nashik at 6.25 a.m. on Friday.

While the police pegged the number of injured at 37, railway officials claimed that 23 were injured. But they admitted that the number could be higher.

“We have received a list of victims who were admitted to the Nashik Civil hospital, the Ghoti hospital and the Vakratunda hospital in Nashik. Some of the injured might have been taken to other hospitals where they were treated in the Out Patient Department and discharged. We do not have a list of such patients,” V. Chandrasekar, Central Railways’ Public Relations Officer, told The Hindu. The injured include two toddlers and eight women.

Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge visited the site a few hours after the accident.

Three of the deceased have been identified as Rajiv Khushwaha (34, hailing from Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh), Pavlesh Kumar and Satyabeer Singh (40, from Pathoda in Haryana). “We can see one body in a mangled bogie. We are trying to recover it,” Bhaskar Jadhav, police inspector, Ghoti station, told The Hindu.

The reason behind the accident is yet to be ascertained and the Railway Safety Commissioner has ordered a probe. Many trains were cancelled, terminated or diverted following the accident.

“I was heading home for holidays in Kannur. We were asleep when the accident took place. We only heard a loud noise. The jerk woke us up and we managed to come out of the tilted compartment,” 27-year-old Sajivan K., an Armyman from Kannur, said.

“The train was coming from Bhusawal and going towards Mumbai. At least nine coaches derailed completely. The train tilted between the two tracks, which have been closed now.,” Vikram Deshmane, Additional Superintendent of Police (Nashik Rural), told The Hindu.

Locals to the rescue

Police said the rescue operation could be taken up swiftly due to the presence of a large number of Ghoti residents who rushed to the spot to assist the victims. “We heard a loud noise and saw the train getting derailed. We immediately rushed to the rescue of the people. We pulled out more than 100 people,” Vilas Bhagat, a hotel owner, told The Hindu.

Ajith Kumar who worked in the pantry car of the Mangala Express said they were cooking when the accident occurred. “As soon as we felt the jerk, we switched off the gas cylinders. Fortunately, we did it in time. You can see that pantry is one of the worst-hit bogies in this accident,” he said.

Names of injured

According to the railway officials, seven injured were admitted to the Vakratunda hospital in Nashik, seven were taken to the Nashik civil hospital, and seven were treated in the OPD and allowed to go. “Two patients were admitted to the Ghoti hospital and were later shifted to Kalyan,” Mr Chandrasekar said.

Those injured are: Kamla Ramani (70), Madhavi Bhairan (28), C Murlidhar (60), Simran Ramani (35), Rahul Ramani (10), Ashwini Purgaonkar (50), Tek Singh (60), Suraj M Gautam (60), Surtaj Kumar (38), Uttamchand Khandelwal (40), Rinku Sharma (25), Sunita Rathod (28), Shubhi Rathod (1.5 years), Rajesh Kumar (25), Purushottam Banwari (54), Kumar Banwari (44), Nisha Ramani (35), Riya Ramani (2.5 years), Puja Ramani (13), Ram Ramani (38), Prakash Ramani (35), Neha Ramani (19).

Anxiety in Kerala

Kochi Special Correspondent reports:

The news of the derailment caused a lot of anxiety here, evident from the calls that flooded the information centre opened at the Ernakulam South Railway Station around noon. The calls came down after news spread that no person from Kerala had died in the accident.