When Utkal Express turns into a live burial: Survival stories
The tragic derailment of the ill-fated Utkal Express was not a nightmare for just the passengers but also for villagers, who are struggling to come to terms with the catastrophic accident they were part of on Saturday.
The accident occurred around 5.45 pm near Khatauli town in this district and left 23 people dead and over 70 injured, the Uttar Pradesh Police said.
Manoj Baliyan (42), who was enjoying the cool breeze till this evening, now counts himself as having survived the accident by god's grace.
Baliyan and his family are still terrified as a mangled sleeper coach (S2) of the train, which had rammed into his house's porch, shattering its facade, is still leaning precariously on the house.
"There was a massive thud and one of the coaches flew over the pantry car and rammed our house's porch," he told PTI.
"I saw scores of bodies in front of the houses along the rail track and a coach had even rammed the boundary wall of a college building near our house," Baliyan said.
"I saw workers on railway track run to save their lives, and afterwards, passengers screamed and cried for help. I saw a coach jumped in the air and it hit the walls of my house. My son somehow managed to drag me inside," Singh said, recounting the moment of the accident, reports Hindustan Times.
NDRF personnel, pressed into service for search and rescue operations, were seen pulling out bodies from the mangled coach that had rammed the college boundary wall.
Narratives came from the relief providers too. We pulled out the body of a woman from underneath the coach. We have noticed a limb in the debris and efforts are on to pull out the body," an NDRF personnel said.
Uttar Pradesh ministers Suresh Rana and Satish Mahana visited the accident site and took stock of the situation.
Both survivors and the rescue teams commended the efforts of the villagers who were the first to reach the site after the accident.
At least 23 people died and more than 70 others were injured when 14 coaches of the Puri Haridwar Utkal Express derailed in Khatauli, around 40km from Muzaffarnagar, on Saturday evening.
OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)