It was a panic call to the 108 ambulance service by a woman at Central railway station that alerted the medical emergency system in the city to act swiftly and spontaneously to save lives.
According to officials with GVK EMRI that operates the ambulance service in the State, they received a call from a woman named Shuba at 7.23 am, five minutes after the first blast. Around 7.29 am, the first ambulance arrived at the spot and in the next 30 minutes all the 14 injured passengers were shifted to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital. A platform inspector initially said it was an electrical blast, the officials added.
“She was shell shocked when she made the call and informed our call centre staff that many people had fallen and the Cheran Express was waiting on platform number 10. She said she was from Tuticorin, settled with her husband in Chennai,” said B Prabhudoss, Regional Director GVK EMRI who added that she even helped the staff to the right spot by identifying the platform where the blast took place.
A 35-member team with 18 emergency medical technicians, including three women, shifted the injured while physically challenged Sasikala co-ordinated with the police. But the ambulance staff was modest enough to attribute their swift action partly to the help of the railway porters. Rafiq Kano, one of the EMTs, recalled how the porters pushed the injured in their iron trolleys to the ambulances not waiting for stretchers.