Kanpur: According to passengers, the Indore-Patna Express was stopped twice, just 30 minutes before it met with the accident that took over 120 lives.
The train halted for an inspection according to passengers and this was minutes before it derailed and resulted in a huge loss of life. Apparently, it was checked for mechanical problems but allowed to go on. If they had just made a thorough investigation, a major catastrophe could have been avoided.
One of the survivors, Sagar Medical College professor Sunil K Pippal recalls what happened.
“(Half an hour before the accident) There was a strong jerk, after which the train stopped. It felt like something on the tracks, for example, a boulder, had been crushed,” said Pippal, 58, who was travelling to Lucknow with his brother Anil. Pippal was travelling in coach B3, which was squeezed between the worst affected bogies S1 and S2.
“Around 3 am, I felt another massive jerk. Our bogie seemed rise vertically,” he said. “The bogie almost stood upright. It was gut-churning. We felt that the coach would fall into a river,” Pippal said, adding that the accident might have been avoided if the first jerk had been probed thoroughly.
“I was injured in the accident and found myself lying by a window. My brother was injured in the face,” Pippal said, adding that, after a few minutes of panic, the two managed to crawl up to the exit gate and get out. “The blessing was that the lights in the compartment were on,” he said.
“Around 100 survivors gathered in the wet fields in pitch dark. All I remember is providing medical assistance to as many as I could, and then all of us started walking towards the highway,” he said, adding that it took almost 12 hours for them to return to their family in Bhopal.
According to the preliminary investigation, the cold weather may have caused a fracture in the rail line. However, a comprehensive probe has been ordered into the crash. The train guard told the media that he had applied the emergency brakes after experiencing a technical fault. As the train was at a high-speed, 14 coaches flew off the rails.