“Thank God, our children are safe. We escaped with injuries. I cannot even imagine what would have happened to our children if something had happened to us,” said Kaduri Lokeswar (47), a daily wager while recalling the horror of the ghastly railway accident in Odisha.
Mr. Lokeswar and his wife Minni (36) underwent treatment at Seven Hills hospital in Visakhapatnam and were discharged on June 5 (Monday).
Mr. Lokeswar escaped with cuts and bruises on his legs, hands and waist, while his wife sustained injuries on her head and back. They were returning to Visakhapatnam on the ill-fated Coromandel Express, after attending a festival of a village deity at Konnagar in Hooghly .
“I, along with my wife, mother and son, who is studying in third standard, and daughter who is yet to be enrolled in school, boarded the B5 coach of Coromandel Express. I and my wife were on the upper berths, while my mother was on the lower birth. My son was sleeping besides me, while my daughter was with my mother,” he said.
“After the train crossed Balasore, we heard a deafening sound around 7 p.m. We found ourselves on the floor of the coach so did all the other passengers. Though it was a reserved compartment, it was full with many Wait List (WL) passengers. it was summer rush. For about half an hour, we were inside the toppled coach, not knowing what to do,” he said.
“Some local villagers broke open one of the glass panes and pulled me out. The rescue teams brought my wife, children, mother and other passengers out of the coach. We managed to reach Bhubaneswar in private vehicles and from there, we came to Visakhapatnam by a special train arranged by the Railways,” he added.
Mr. Lokeswar, hailing from Marikavalasa on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam, is a painter. His father, a worker in a jute mill in Kolkata, had settled there. Mr. Lokeswar moved to Marikavalasa after his marriage some 13 years ago. His brother still lives in Kolakata.
“We went to my elder brother’s house for the festival. Thankfully, there was power in our coach but no short-circuit had occurred. We would have all died had there been a short circuit,” he said.
Ms. Minni, who seemed to be still in shock, was shifted to her room in a wheel-chair. She was later discharged from the hospital.