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‘Please save us’ cried dying passengers of Vananchal

Kolkata, July 19 (Calcutta Tube) There was a loud crashing sound and a jerking, after which passengers of the Uttar Banga express fell pell-mell from their berths, injuring themselves. But what people recall of the trauma most is the plea of the wounded and dying passengers of the Vananchal Express, ‘Please save us, we don’t want to die’.

The Uttar Banga express early Monday rammed into three coaches of the stationary Bhagalpur-Ranchi Vananchal Express at Sainthia in Birbhum district, 191 km from Kolkata, killing 63 people and injuring 150.

Passengers of the Uttar Banga returned to Kolkata Monday evening after a 14-hour ordeal, with practically no food, and flooded with memories of the traumatic experience.

‘I will never forget this day in my life. It was simply a terrible experience. At 1.55 a.m. there was a loud sound and a jerking. We all fell from our berths and got injured,’ said Uma Shankar Karmakar, a passenger.

‘We were the first ones to start the rescue work. It was a horrible sight to see people bleeding to death. The passengers of Vananchal were saying ‘Please save us, we don’t want to die’. But I couldn’t do anything,’ said a railway protection force constable who was on the Uttar Banga Express.

‘I was in the S-3 compartment and after the collision I fell from my berth, and then another person fell over me. Since then I cannot move my left hand. I had to sling it from the neck. Railway officials only provided us with a band aid,’ said a passenger Vijendra.

The passengers looked upset. One of them pounced on a packet of a biscuits and chips brought by his relatives at the Sealdah station.

The passengers complained that they did not receive any food packets or got any first aid after the accident.

‘I thought I would simply die of hunger. I thought after the collision the nightmare was over, but it was yet to come, and that was the negligence and apathy of railway officials,’ said Uttam Pal, a passenger.

Sanjib Chakroborty, a passenger complained that they received just a packet of biscuits and a bottle of water as ration for the whole day.

‘The rescue work started one hour after the collision. Had they started earlier, many precious lives could have been saved,’ said Ratna Chakroborty, wife of Sanjib Chakroborty.

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