CHENNAI: On Thursday evening, D Anandan was sitting by the window seat of the suburban train after boarding it at Ambattur. It usually took about 20 minutes to reach Pattabiram where he lived.
Just as the train approached the Pattabiram station around 8.15 pm, he and other passengers heard a loud noise. Soon the lights went off and smoke from somewhere filled thecoach.
“What followed was sheer panic,” says Anandan, who was injured in the leg and was being treated at Railway Hospital, Perambur. A day after the freak collision of the Thiruvananthapuram Mail and the suburban train near Pattabiram, the survivors said more than the collision, it was people’s panic to flee the compartment that caused most injuries.
Unaware of what had actually happened and the fear that the compartment could go up in flames panicked the passengers who began jumping from the compartment to the ground nearly five feet below. The gravel below caused many to lose balance. But a few passengers said the panicking mob pushed them down on the ground, injuring them.
Relatives and friends of D Sateesh and Abehith Neko, who suffered leg injuries and were being treated at the Railway Hospital, said they were pushed down, causing the injuries.
On the Thiruvananthapuram Mail, the passengers standing near the entrance of the unreserved compartment next to the engine, were tossed to the ground in the impact.
“I was standing near the door of the packed general compartment when suddenly our train lurched to a halt. The impact caught us off guard and some of us were thrown to the ground,” M Thilagamani (42), who suffered injuries to his hip and leg, and is currently being treated at Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital. Working as a lorry serviceman in Chennai, he returns to Vellore everyday after work by the Thiruvananthapuram Mail.Out of the six, two were discharged after treatment at Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital. Three persons Anandan, D Sateesh and Abehith Neko have been admitted in Railway Hospital, Perambur.
Speaking to Express Nirmala Devi, medical director, Railway Hospital, said, “The latter two have been operated upon for traumatic fractures on their left leg. They should be discharged in a week.” The Southern Railway authorities have announced an ex-gratia sum of `25,000 to D Sateesh and Abehith Neko with others getting `5000.