MUZAFFARNAGAR: The tragic accident in Khatauli area in the district was not a nightmare for just the passengers of the ill-fated Utkal Express, but also for the locals whose houses lined the tracks, and are now splattered with blood.
The accident occurred around 5.45 pm near Khatauli town in this district and left 23 people dead and over 60 injured, the Uttar Pradesh Police said.
Khatauli is around 40 km from Muzaffarnagar.
Manoj Baliyan (42), who was enjoying the cool breeze till this evening, now counts himself as having survived the accident by god's grace.
Baliyan and his family are still terrified as a mangled sleeper coach (S2) of the train, which had rammed into his house's porch, shattering its facade, is still leaning precariously on the house.
"There was a massive thud and one of the coaches flew over the pantry car and rammed our house's porch," he told PTI.
"I saw scores of bodies in front of the houses along the rail track and a coach had even rammed the boundary wall of a college building near our house," Baliyan said.
The other end of the S2 coach is resting over the pantry coach with its door shattered.
NDRF personnel, pressed into service for search and rescue operations, were seen pulling out bodies from the mangled coach that had rammed the college boundary wall.
"We pulled out the body of a woman from underneath the coach. We have noticed a limb in the debris and efforts are on to pull out the body," an NDRF personnel said.
Uttar Pradesh ministers Suresh Rana and Satish Mahana visited the accident site and took stock of the situation.
"The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister is continuously tracking the update on the accident," Rana said.
A sense of fear pervaded the site's atmosphere, while for the passengers of the train and the locals the night has turned into a nightmare.
Fourteen coaches of the high-speed Utkal Express jumped the rails, with one of them crashing into a house adjacent to the track near Khatauli this evening.
Railway ministry officials in Delhi, however, put the number of dead at 12. The train was coming from Puri in Odisha and going to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, normally a journey of about 36 hours.