A doctor was flooded by patients an hour before ambulances arrived. A bunch of friends kept up the supply of drinking water at the accident site, and a tea shop owner escaped by a whisker in Muzaffarnagar, where the Kalinga Utkal Express derailed on Saturday. Their accounts follow:
Doctor Mansoor Ul-Haq, who runs a clinic from his home in Nayi Abadi village, said he got 50 patients before the first ambulance arrived in Khatauli to take injured passengers to hospitals.
The villagers brought them to him, Haq said, to receive first aid. “We, along with around six staff, worked on the injuries of some old men and women. Most of the old people were bleeding from wounds on their heads. We put stitches. Others had cuts on their bodies and we gave them anti-Tetanus injections,” the doctor said. The clinic was also the halting point for families who were injured. On Saturday midnight, the family of Mahesh Chandra and a family from Morena, Madhya Pradesh, arrived at his clinic. They had injuries on their legs. “Dr Haq has allowed us to stay at his place, we will leave as soon as we can. We are lucky to be alive,” one of them said.
Mohammad Sadiq and Saddam were among 20 villagers who supplied drinking water to passengers, railway workers and police. As the duo carried 20-litre jars on Sunday evening, Saddam said, “We have been continuously serving water to those working hard to lay the tracks. There was no provision for water, so we decided to help,” Saddam says. He said that he and his friends got ladders and went inside the coaches on Saturday evening. “We used cutters to rescue passengers. When the authorities did not turn up even after an hour, we took them to Dr Haq’s clinic,” he said.
Hari Singh was in his tea shop near the railway tracks when he spotted the coaches of a train tilting towards his shop. Two customers were drinking tea outside. Hari pulled them inside his shop and dropped the shutters. “The train hit the wall of my shop but halted a foot away,” he said. Hari said he counted till 10. There was no sound. “Then I opened the shutters and I heard screams.”
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