Raktima Bose

SARDIHA (West Bengal): Twenty-four year-old Bithika Ray's eyes wore a vacant look as she stared at the twisted remains of the S3 coach. Only her lips quivered a bit as she murmured: “What would I tell my husband? How will I return home now?”

Ms. Ray was travelling to Mumbai with her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, her sister and brother-in-law to join her husband who works as a jewellery artisan there. Following the tragedy on the tracks, she could not trace any of her companions.

As survivors who had identified the bodies of their kin wailed, lucky ones made frantic phone calls to anxious relatives back home and members of the medical team hurried about, within the premises of the temporary shelter, Ms. Ray's silence underscored the extent of the tragedy that had struck the passengers of the 2012 Jnaneswari Express.

Bodies were seen being carried away from the site on trucks belonging to the Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force.

The survivors, however, alleged that even though the accident occurred at around 1.30 a.m., the rescue team reached the spot only after almost two hours.