Scores of passengers on board Vidarbha Express would believe that its a miracle they survived after the train running at 80 km an hour collided with a derailed local at Kasara near Mumbai. But it was the presence of mind of the drivers of the two trains that mitigated the impact of the collision,resulting in minimal damage.
The Kasara local was derailed after it was hit by boulders from a landslide,throwing some coaches to the neighbouring tracks. Without wasting time,suburban train motorman R K Rao rushed out of his motor cabin and switched on the flasher light of the local train to alert drivers of other trains about the derailment. In fact,to avert a collision,he even ran to the middle of the track to stop the Vidarbha Express.
Noticing the flasher light,Vidarbha Express driver A R Khan sensed trouble and saw the derailed coaches on the same track. He applied emergency brakes to stop the train but as it was running at 80 kmph,it collided with the derailed bogies of the local train. According to sources,just before the collision,driver AR Khan and assistant pilot A K Mishra of Vidarbha Express jumped out of the driver cabin. Motorman Rao of the Kasara local has been admitted in Kalyan Hospital with minor injuries.
Abhijit Ghate,a resident of Vasai,who had a reserved berth in coach S-10,said,If the driver of Vidarbha Express had not applied the brakes in time,the entire train could have fallen into a creek. He said he felt three heavy jerks and heard a loud noise.
The S-10 bogie had climbed over S-9 and broken into two. To save themselves,passengers were trying to access the door,resulting in an imbalance. While I succeeded in getting out with some injuries,my co-passenger,a doctor,lost both legs. Around 10.40 pm,a medical van came and we were admitted to Kasara Hospital, Ghate said. Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal,who visited the spot along with Minister of State K H Muniyappa,on Friday morning,said the incident did not occur due to negligence.
A huge boulder slid down to the tracks hitting the Kasara train the bogies of which landed on the other tracks. Within two minutes,the Vidharbha train approached from the opposite direction,leaving no time for the EMU train motorman to react. The impact was such that a few coaches were thrown perpendicular on another track,on which Vidharbha train was approaching. Soon after the derailment,the flasher lights were switched on and it started flashing danger signals. The motor man on the Express train,although had slowed down,could not avert the incident and rammed the train into the EMU train, Mittal said.