‘First a huge jerk, then everything started tumbling’: Kanchanjunga Express survivors | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
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‘First a huge jerk, then everything started tumbling’: Kanchanjunga Express survivors

Jun 17, 2024 04:46 PM IST

Locals were the first responders as they rushed to the spot and began rescue operations. The injured were rushed to the North Bengal hospita.

Johnson Chettri and Kisan Chettri had a miraculous escape while two of their fellow passengers went missing after a speeding goods train rammed into the Kanchanjunga Express on Monday morning in Darjeeling district, killing around 9 people.

The Kanchanjunga Express after the accident in north Bengal on Monday. (ANI Photo)
The Kanchanjunga Express after the accident in north Bengal on Monday. (ANI Photo)

Kisan, a resident of Shillong in Meghalaya, was heading to Sealdah in search of a job.

Locals were the first responders as they rushed to the spot and began rescue operations as the injured were taken to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital for treatment.

Giving a first-hand account of the accident, Kisan said, “It was around 8.30am when I heard a big bang and felt a sudden huge jerk. I was playing games on my mobile. Immediately, our coach started tumbling as commotion filled the air inside the coach.”

Click here for LIVE updates on Kanchanjunga Express accident

“Luckily, I did not suffer any injury but lost my bags and other belongings. There were almost 20 passengers in our coach. Though others are safe, two fellow passengers have gone missing. We looked around but could not find them,” he said.

Around 8.55am, the goods train came crashing into the Sealdah-bound Kanchanjunga Express from behind. Four compartments of the passenger train, including the guard’s compartment, two parcel vans and a general compartment, suffered heavy damage.

Johnson, also from Meghalaya, said, “It was like a nightmare. I lost sense for a couple of minutes. It was only after my fellow passengers started dragging me that I gained consciousness and realised what had happened.”

“I was speaking over the phone when I was jolted... I did not know what happened after that. I immediately called my parents and told them that I am safe,” he said.

Read more: What is Kavach, anti-collision system missing from Kanchanjunga Express route?

Abinash Mukherjee from West Bengal’s Barasat had boarded the train at Agartala to return home.

“Our train was running at a slow speed and suddenly I heard a big sound. Everything went upside down and we were left helpless for almost 15 minutes before locals came to our rescue. I saw two people dying.”

Narayan Ghosh from Assam was in the fifth coach from the rear end of the train. “Four coaches just behind ours derailed and suffered massive damage. I was in a deep sleep when the accident happened and fell down due to the impact. The passengers helped each other stay calm before the locals helped us out,” Ghosh said.

Mohammed Raju, a local who was just returning home after finishing his morning prayer, said, “I saw the speeding goods train hitting the passenger train from behind. The passenger train was running at slow speed, but the goods train was running at a high speed.”

He also said that the driver and assistant driver of the goods train and guard of the Kanchanjunga express were killed on the spot.

“We took out seven bodies, including that of the goods train driver. We also rescued 14 injured people, three of them are in very critical condition,” Raju said. He too sustained minor injuries on his right hand while carrying out the rescue work.

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