Had the journey of the Bangalore-Nanded Express proceeded smoothly for another 20 minutes, travelling ticket examiner (TTE) B N Mohan would have completed his duty and rested for the day.
Unfortunately for him, Saturday morning left scars that he may never forget.
Mohan, who was travelling in the B1 AC coach, appeared to be in a state of shock after surviving the tragedy. Mohan had boarded the train from Bangalore and was scheduled to complete his duty at Dharmavaram railway station, the next halt after the incident spot.
When asked to recollect details of the incident, Mohan said he was not sure where the fire had started from.
His words echoed those of most survivors, who said they initially found it difficult to breathe in the closed AC compartment due to smoke. By the time they suspected it was a major accident, flames had begun to erupt around them. “All of us ran towards the doors in a hurry to save our lives,” Mohan said.
The TTE said the passengers found it difficult to open the main doors of the compartment due to panic and fear.
“As they did not open even after the train came to a halt, the passengers began breaking open window panes,” he added. However, some passengers had died by then, while the remaining managed to escape.
A visibly shaken Mohan requested mediapersons and officials, who were seen asking him for more details about the accident, to leave him alone as he left the spot to try to recover from a tragedy he may not forget.