Hirakhand Express tragedy: Life thrown into disarray for many

Rayagada/Visakhapatnam: Life of some passengers of Hirakhand Express turned upside down due to a derailment near Kuneru in Andhra Pradesh on January 21 which claimed 39 lives and injured more than 50.

Some passengers lost their family members in the train accident while some others are left with unbearable pain and lying on a hospital bed helpless.

One woman passenger wearing saree and a black scarf on head was seen standing near the mangled remains of Hirakhand Express coaches with blankness in her eyes and without uttering a word. As she has lost her son and daughter in the train accident, the woman remained speechless.

Also read: 39 killed as 10 coaches of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derail

The woman passenger’s relative Srinibas Rao, who reached the accident site after getting information about the mishap, said, “She was travelling along with her children in Hirakhand Express were from Bhawanipatna to Vizinagaram. While the two children lost their lives, the mother is unhurt. She had lost her husband earlier on the same date.”

Sai Suchitra Bhanj, a young girl, who was travelling in ill-fated Hirakhand Express from Rayagada to Bhubaneswar along with her two sisters, mother and grandfather, is writhing in pain while lying in a Visakhapatnam hospital bed.

Sai Suchitra stated, “We were all asleep and did not know when the train derailed. Through the media I want to ask my father to reach here immediately.”

Sai Suchitra’s two sisters and grandfather are among the train derailment casualties whereas her mother Gitanjali Bhanj is undergoing treatment in a bed at the Visakhapatnam hospital.

Gitanjali said, “I was sitting in the coach whereas my children were fast asleep. After the train accident, we were thrown scattered. My daughter has broken her one hand and I have lost one leg.”

Also read: Railway Safety Commissioner to probe into Hirakhand Express derailment

Meanwhile, survivors of the mishap recounted their horrific experience when the trains nine bogies and the engine jumped off the track near Kuneru.

“It was horrific and frightening. I was among the lucky ones to have escaped narrowly after the mishap that struck late last night,” said Ranjan Mohanty, a Baripada college Principal.

Mohanty, who was returning in the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express train after attending the wedding ceremony of a relative, said he was sleeping and woke up with a sudden jerk and deafening sound to find himself on the floor.

While the derailment claimed at least 39 lives, Mohanty said, travelling in his coach escaped with minor injuries and fractures.

However, the adjacent S-9 coach was perhaps one of the worst affected, Mohanty said, adding he was among the survivors who were sent by a special train to Bhubaneswar via Sambalpur from where he would proceed to Baripada.

Also read: Stringent action against guilty in Hirakhand Exp mishap: Prabhu

Similar was the experience of Prakash Sahu, a youth who failed to figure out as to what exactly had happened when a loud bang woke him up from deep sleep and he was flung from the berth.

Sahu said he along with some fellow passengers managed to move out of the coach with much difficulty and to comprehend what had happened.

“We are lucky enough to be alive though our belongings, mobile phones and other articles were lost,” he said.