PATNA: It was a sight of joy for few as the special relief train, carrying the injured passengers from the ill-fated Bihar-bound Indore-Rajendra Nagar Express train, arrived at Patna, early on Monday morning.
This was in stark contrast to the mood in dozens of home there as deep sorrow and distress engulfed the families, who had lost their close relatives in the derailment on Sunday or were still missing.
In the southern town of Gaya, a family was distraught after it failed to get information about a family member who was returning from Bhopal alone in the derailed train. Sabita Srivastava, the middle-aged missing passenger, had gone to Bhopal to meet her teenage son who studies engineering there.
“We have been trying hard by contacting various railway authorities and even by sending a relative to Kanpur to help locate her. But there is still no news about her and we are left with unending distress,” said Vinod Srivastava, the brother-in-law of Sabita Srivastava.
In JP Nagar in the western district of Siwan, a family is grieving the death of two of its members in the derailment. Subodh Singh, an engineer in his mid-thirties, was returning from Indore with his wife and two young daughters. Singh and one of the little girls were killed in the derailment.
There were 350 passengers in the special relief train that reached Patna Junction at about 3:30 AM. As many as 235 passengers – 161 in sleeper coaches and 74 in AC coaches – were travelling to Patna in the train that originated in Indore in Madhya Pradesh and passed through Varanasi in UP, said officials citing the train’s reservation charts for the day.
The rest of the passengers who reached Patna Junction were those who were travelling in the train’s general coaches and those travelling with waiting-list tickets.
According to the latest information provided by railway authorities, 18 people from Bihar were killed in the derailment and 24 others from the state were left badly injured. The number of dead and injured people from the state could increase as a search for missing passengers is still on at the derailment site on Monday, said the officials.
The total death toll in the derailment is said to have risen to 133 by Monday morning. Some derailed and mangled coaches are yet to be checked for signs of life in them, said officials.