Bodies everywhere: survivors of disaster recount horrific scenes

R. Sivaraman

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Sunday, 4th June 2023
Page No. 11
Chennai Print Edition

A few passengers who had a miraculous escape in the Odisha train accident recounted the horrific scenes they witnessed at the accident spot after they arrived by flight at the Chennai airport on Saturday.

Ramesh, a preacher, said, “The Coromandel Express, which departed at 3.20 p.m., crossed Balasore at 6.30 p.m. Around 6.50 p.m., the train began to tremble and stopped. I was in an AC coach. Passengers sleeping on the berths fell down. Initially, we thought it was a minor accident, but realised the gravity of it only after coming out of our coaches. We saw some coaches [fallen] on top of each other; one coach was thrown way off the track.”

He further said, “People were wailing everywhere. Some passengers had lost their legs and arms. The neighbouring villagers helped retrieve the people stuck in the mangled coaches and screaming for help. Soon after, ambulances started arriving. The locals, too, took the injured passengers in their vehicles to hospital.”

A burning smell

Rajalakshmi, a Loyola College student, was returning from Kolkata after completing her internship. She, too, was in an AC coach. “When our train crashed, I happened to see a goods train, and it was also out of the track. After the train stopped, there was a burning smell. We quickly bundled our luggage and got out of the coach. Most of the deceased and the injured people were in the unreserved and sleeper coaches. We saw dead bodies and injured people everywhere.”

Nagendran, a native of Ramanathapuram, who works as an accountant in a private company, said, “At the time of the crash, I thought it was all over. Only after I managed to come out, I felt alive again.”

A blessing in disguise

John Felix, 44, had decided to come to Chennai by flight instead of taking the train. “The train ticket was on the wait list. So I decided to take the flight to Chennai. Later, I realised that my ticket was confirmed.”

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