In the background I could hear an awful commotion, men’s voices raised and women screaming. But I couldn’t make out what the matter was? Because suddenly my train came to a halt with a big bang. All the people started falling on each other. The passengers sleeping on their berths fell to the ground. It was a chaotic scene, all the passengers were running here and there. It was a stampede scene where hundreds of people lost their lives and many were injured.
I was travelling by Indore-Patna express on 22nd November 2016. The time was somewhere around 3:00 a.m. in the early morning on Sunday. Everybody was fast asleep but a sudden jerk woke us all. The driver of the train tried to apply emergency breaks and all of sudden, the fast-moving express train came to a halt.
Fourteen coaches of Indore-Patna express had derailed at Pukhrayan in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh. The S1 and S2 coaches of the train bore the major brunt of the damage, as they smashed into each other. Two other coaches, S3 and S4 also went off the track but were not damaged to that extent. The third AC D/L was also damaged. 180 people were injured and about 120 people were killed, within a fraction of a second.
This accident was the most critical one in the past 17 years. Nobody expected or predicted such an incident. It was such a scene of death dancing in front of you. Many people died, some were injured seriously as they received multiple injuries and fractures. Even family members were separated from each other while some dead bodies were untraceable. Paramilitary groups, the army, commandos, even civilians came to rescue the victims.
Somehow I didn’t receive any injury and was safe because I was travelling in S6 coach. We were all stuck in this situation, for about 36 hours. Meanwhile, like a good citizen, I helped the rescue team by assisting them. Some people had lost their baggage and their mobile phones. I myself helped at least one dozen people in making phone calls to their homes and informing their families about their well-being.
We all were hungry, thirsty for many hours until rescue operations people came and gave us food, water and medicines. Whenever I dream of this accident, I wake up from my sleep and become restless for hours. I just thanked God for saving me.