with exclusive pics by Rons Bantwal
for Daijiworld Media Network - Mumbai (mb)
Mumbai, Dec 24: One person died and eight others were injured, two of them seriously, after five coaches of a CST-Titwala local derailed between Kurla and Vidyavihar stations on the Central line around 11.24 am on Sunday. The Central Railway (CR) officials are yet to ascertain the cause behind the derailment, which disrupted rail traffic till late in the evening.
At the site of the accident, J N Lal, divisional railway manager (DRM) of CR, said, “The reason for derailment is still unknown. We cannot yet ascertain whether it was a human lapse or a material problem as the rake looks normal and the motorman’s cabin is fine too.”
The motorman, B K Bisk, was equally clueless: “Sirf ek jhatka laga and I immediately applied the brake.” The railway officials whisked him away from angry passengers.
According to Lal, the noise, smoke and a cloud of dust raised by the derailed coaches made commuters paranoid. “Thinking that it was a bomb blast, they started jumping off the train, resulting in injuries to some of them.”
Shabdin Yusuf, 20, who sustained a minor head injury, said, “My heart sank on hearing the thunder. I though it’s a blast and jumped out.”
Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel who rushed to the spot claimed that they barely managed to prevent a stampede. “Passengers ran here and there in fear. We had to persuade them that it was a derailment, not an explosion,” said M M Pawar, senior police inspector of GRP at Kurla.
The body of Moreshwar Mhadik, 20, a resident of Sangameshwar in Ratnagiri who worked in a garment company, was found on the tracks next to a derailed coach, said Pawar, adding that he may have been standing near the door. Mhadik boarded the train at Chinchpokli.
The injured were rushed to Sion, Rajawadi and Bhabha hospitals. Three passengers were administered first-aid on the spot and allowed to go, according to CR officials.
Two passengers - Parshuram Rathod (25) and Prakash Kadam - sustained severe head injuries. Rathod, who works as an office assistant in a bank, was admitted to Sion hospital.
“He is unconscious and I just heard him say ‘mujhe nahi pata, mujhe kya laga hai’?” said brother Prem Singh.
CR was also at the receiving end with the passengers blaming it for the absence of an ambulance and lax rescue operations.
“I got treated at Mubarak Complex. The railways doctor came at 3 pm while the derailment occurred at 11.24 am,” Yusuf said.
The Down slow suburban services were diverted on Down fast line between Matunga and Mulund and Up slow suburban services were diverted to Up fast line between Ghatkopar and Matunga, according to railway officials.
When asked when normal traffic will be restored, CR Public Relations Officer A K Singh said, “Chief Railway Security Commissioner will conduct an inquiry on December 25. The tracks will be repaired by midnight.”
The CR has announced an ex gratia Rs 15,000 to the next of kin of the deceased Rs 5000 each to those with grievous injuries and Rs 500 each to those with simple injuries.