Use of gas cutters to rescue trapped passengers inside the mangled coaches of the tragedy-hit Indore-Patna Express was minimised as these produce excessive heat and release gases causing suffocation. “We have been instructed to minimise the use of such gas cutters as these melt steel and produce hot gases causing suffocation,” Pancharatan Singh, an official of the Kanpur Small Arms Factory, said at the accident spot.
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He is leading a team of 8 to 10 welders from the factory equipped with two gas cutters to bring out trapped people from the train. Singh said the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was using cold cutters to cut open the steel frame of the bogies without increasing the temperature inside the coaches.
“The bogies are being moved using JCB machines. We have seen a number of people who are alive inside the bogies. The coaches are badly mangled but some rescue workers have heard cries of the victims still trapped inside,” Singh said.
Adil Ahmed, who was in one of the coaches, said that the train was running at a high speed when the mishap occurred at around 3 AM which led to four bogies rolling over. He claimed that the rescue personnel reached the accident spot nearly an hour after the tragedy occurred as the roads in the rural area were not in a good condition. Deepika Tripathi, another passenger, said, “We are still trying to trace five members of our family. We were a group of 45 people.”
Another man who was inside one of the coaches, said, “We somehow made out way out of the train through the toilet window. All members of my family are safe. We haven’t seen anything like this. We were very scared, but after seeing the rescue operations, we feel reassured.”