The Railway officials in the locomotive which collided with the car at Aroor were in no position to avert the mishap. Narrating the tragic turn of events to Express, one of the officials, who didn’t want to be named, said that they managed to see the car when it was just 100 metres away from the railway gate. “The driver of the car had not seen the train as there were overgrown weeds blocking the view near the gate. There is also a sharp curve 100 metres ahead of the gate after Kumbalam bridge. We applied the emergency brake but the train stopped only after 300 metres. Hence, we were helpless and could do nothing to save the people in the car,” the official said.
It was K Vijaykumar, the main pilot, and K Sajith Kumar who were piloting the locomotive of the Hapa-Tirunelveli Express. K Vijaykumar has an experience of 26 years as loco pilot. He was awarded with the ‘good service’ entry in the Indian Railway Service for saving the life of thousands when a railway overbridge collapsed at Pukunam-Mulankunnathukavu stretch, in 2004. “Witnessing such accidents is common in the lives of loco drivers, but even if they take timely measures the accidents cannot always be averted,” said K P Varghese, Treasurer, All-India Loco Running Staff Association.