No help from authorities, say kin of train accident victims

Mumbai, May 28 (IANS) Angry relatives trying to come to terms with the loss of their family members in the Mumbai-bound train accident in West Bengal that left at least 65 people dead and 200 injured Friday complained of little help from railway authorities.

A relative of one of the suspected victims of the accident at the Kurla railway station near Mumbai said: ‘I am desperately trying to get in touch with my brother, who was on the Howrah-Kurla Gyaneshwari Super Deluxe Express, but his phone is not working.’

Looking visibly worried, he added: ‘The authorities have failed to give me any information about my brother. They are not clear about how many bogies have been derailed… some are saying five and others are saying 13. I am helpless.’

The accident occurred when the engine and 13 coaches of the passenger train derailed and were hit by a speeding goods train in Jhargram in West Bengal.

Haridas Gupta, another harried relative waiting at the Kurla railway station since early morning for any news from his sister who was on the ill-fated train, said: ‘My sister and nephew were on that train. I have been trying to call her on her mobile phone, but it is switched off.’

‘I have been here at the station ever since I came to know of the accident. I have no clue about how they are, whether they are even alive…no one has told us anything. The authorities have no information,’ he said.

A victim, who managed to escape with minor injuries, said: ‘It was at around 1.10 a.m. when some of us were having dinner that we suddenly heard a loud crash of the train derailing. The whole coach was shaking. There was no sound of any blast.’

‘Thankfully, we somehow managed to come out of a window. We rushed to help others…there was nobody to help and three people died in front of me. In the meanwhile, someone stole my luggage,’ he said.

A man, who rushed to help the passengers, said: ‘No security staff of the railways came to help. It was the public who came to rescue us at first but they couldn’t do much as they didn’t have the required equipment. It was only later when the authorities and staff from the pantry came to help’.