Bus falls of Howrah Rail Bridge , 12 Killed

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Pintu, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Bus veers off Howrah rail bridge, 12 killed - Kolkata - Cities - The Times of India

    Bus veers off Howrah rail bridge, 12 killed
    5 Jul 2009, 0403 hrs IST, TNN

    HOWRAH: "Vivekananda told me the steering had jammed. I saw the bus heading straight for the railing and leapt out on to the footpath. Seconds later, the bus' rear portion slammed into me from behind and hurled me across the railing. The last I remember is me falling through the air and the bus hurtling down after me."
    [​IMG]
    People try to rescue passengers after a
    bus fell off a flyover near the Howrah
    railway station. (PTI Photo)

    That was the chilling account of Md Firdaus, the helper of the ill-fated minibus that fell from Bankim Setu on the railway tracks at Howrah station on Saturday evening. The 35-foot drop left 12 dead and nine seriously injured. Firdaus, who recounted the final seconds of the tragedy before being wheeled into the intensive care unit of Howrah General Hospital, is in a critical condition.

    "We were slightly behind the scheduled arrival time at Howrah station as we had got caught in a traffic snarl earlier. Bimal (Das) was egging on Vivekananda (Parui) to make up for lost time. As one takes the bridge from the southern end, there is a left turn. It is while taking this turn that the steering got jammed. Bimal screamed at me and I jumped out. I thought I was safe. But as fate would have it, the rear section of the bus hit me and I fell off the bridge," Firdaus told TOI. Vivekananda was the driver and Bimal, the conductor, of the bus. Vivekananda, who tried to jump out of the bus, was caught in the high-tension wires and electrocuted.

    Some locals, however, said the Howrah station-bound minibus from Nazirganj in Sankrail was speeding in a bid to overtake another bus when the driver lost control. Buses are prone to speeding at the fag end of the journey. Around the mid-way point across the bridge, it swerved dangerously to the left, jumped on to the footpath and headed straight for the guard railings. As people looked on in horror, the bus broke through the concrete barriers and plunged on to the tracks below.

    "The road surface was greasy following a shower. The bus driver appeared to brake suddenly, causing the wheels to swerve sharply to the left. The driver lost control and crashed through the railing, disappearing with a chunk of the concrete barrier," recalled a stunned eyewitness.

    Below, Mithila Express had just pulled out of platform 11. The guard was still leaning out of his compartment at the rear of the train and waving the green flag when he saw the bizarre sight of an upturned bus drop on the tracks next to platform 12. The deafening sound of the impact as the bus crashed into the gravelled tracks alerted porters, who rushed to the spot.

    The bus disintegrated completely on impact and lay turtle. The roof, partly charred when it came into contact with the overhead railway traction line, lay at a distance. All the passengers were trapped in the mangled steel frame under the chassis, either crushed to death or barely alive.

    "It was a bizarre scene. The bus lay turtle. The undercarriage and wheels appeared to be staring skyward. The carriage was shattered. I could see bloodied limbs sticking out of the mangled steel," said porter Ratan Singh.

    Singh and others managed to yank out the first of the passengers trapped under the metal mess. Railway Protection Force personnel, Eastern Railway officials and a railway medical team soon arrived on the spot. Gas cutters were requisitioned to slice through the steel and reach the passengers. They were then carted across the platform in trolleys that coolies use to ferry luggage.

    Doctors at Howrah hospital said most passengers had suffered head injuries and concussions. Several had badly mangled limbs with bones jutting out through gaping wounds. While a majority of the injured were rushed to Howrah General Hospital, some with extensive bone dislocation were taken to Howrah Railway Orthopedic Hospital.

    Train operations at Howrah Station was suspended as locals joined the rescue operation. Power was shut down on overhead tractions between platform 10 and 23. Rajdhani Express was later passed through track 10.

    Howrah SP Neeraj Kumar, who was at the spot along with RPF commandant Raja Ram, Howrah mayor Mamata Jaiswal and sub-divisional officer Soumendranath Bandyopadhyay said a case had been registered and a probe into the accident was under way.

    Railway minister Mamata Banerjee, who visited the injured at the Howrah General Hospital later in the evening, said the railways would bear the cost of treatment but ruled out compensation to the dead as it was not a railway accident.

    "Such tragedies will continue as long as the state government does not abolish the commission structure and introduces salaries for bus employees," she said.

    This isn't the first time that a bus has plunged off Bankim Setu. A couple of years ago, another mini-bus had crashed through the barriers on the same flank but passengers escaped with injuries after the vehicle's fell on the roof of stalls that were under construction next to the railway lines below. A year prior to that, a truck tumbled off the opposite flank.

    However, the only other accident of a similar magnitude happened three years ago when a passenger bus fell off the Bally CCR bridge on the train track at Bally Halt. Eleven persons had died in that accident.
     
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  3. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    I Pray before Almighty that the souls of the victims rest in peace and the mental strength be given to family of the victims so that they can overcome this trauma.
     
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    Pintu New Member

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    The Statesman

    Bus tumbles over bridge, 11 killed

    statesman news service

    KOLKATA, 4 JULY: At least 12 people, including three women and a six-month old baby, were killed and several others injured when a minibus carrying more than 20 passengers fell on the railway tracks from the Bankim Setu flyover at Howrah station late this afternoon.
    The injured passengers have been admitted to Howrah Orthopaedic Hospital and Howrah State General Hospital.
    Eyewitnesses said the driver of the Howrah-station bound minibus, which began its journey from Sankrail around 2 p.m, lost control of the vehicle when another private bus overtook and stopped abruptly in front of it. The minibus skidded on the road, smashed through the railing, and fell 50 feet onto the railway tracks, catching a high tension power cable on its way down. Eight passengers died on the spot while four others died in hospital. The latter included a 6-month-old baby who was declared brought dead at RG Kar hospital.
    The Bankim Setu flyover connects Howrah station with Howrah Maidan.
    Train services were disrupted for about an hour following the mishap, and two trains ~ Ahmedabad Express and Ranchi Express ~ had to be rescheduled.
    Six of the deceased have been identified so far ~ Bidyut Naskar (28), Manoj Kumar Sharma (27), Mohammad Kalim Ansari (40), Islam Mollah (50) and his wife Nasima Bibi (35) and Chandan Das.
    Ms Rubi Bibi, a resident of Bansberia, who survived the mishap, said there were at least 20 passengers in the bus. She said: “The bus which we were traveling in mounted the pavement and hit the railing after another bus overtook our bus and stopped abruptly in front of it. Both vehicles were running at high speed. The driver of our bus applied brakes, but couldn't stop the vehicle since the road was wet. I became unconscious after the bus fell down.”
    Jawans of the Railway Protection Force and other railway employees began rescue operations. Passengers waiting to catch trains on platforms number 11 and 12 also rushed to the spot and helped in the rescue operation. A railway engine was brought to remove the bus from the railway tracks. “Injured passengers who were trapped were shouting for help. A gas-cutter was used to cut open the vehicle to rescue injured passengers. First, we brought out the body of a woman. Later seven more bodies were brought out. Six of the deceased are men while the remaining three are women,” said Mr Mrityunjoy Bonik, a commuter who helped in the rescue operation.
    Railway minister, Miss Mamata Banerjee and leader of the Opposition, Mr Partha Chatterjee, visited the spot and the hospitals where the injured are being treated. Miss Banerjee said the commission system for bus drivers and conductors should be abolished to avert accidents. Trinamul Congress leaders later met the Howrah district magistrate and sought Rs 5 lakh as compensation for the families of those killed and Rs 2 lakh for the injured.
     
  5. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Chaos at hospital, no list

    Chaos at hospital, no list

    [​IMG]
    Md Firdouse, injured helper of the mini-bus
    being taken to treated Howrah General
    Hospital. for treatment ... In an accident a
    mini-bus had fallen down from Bankim Setu on
    the railway track at Howrah station on
    Saturday. Partha Paul

    Posted: Sunday , Jul 05, 2009 at 0405 hrs IST
    Kolkata:



    Chaos reigned at the Howrah General Hospital as bodies of the bus accident victims began to arrive. Locals and eye-witnesses were the initial rescuers who rushed about five of the injured to the hospital within an hour of the accident.

    As bodies began arriving, the hospital authorities were caught unprepared, so much so that all eight bodies were kept on stretchers in the dressing room of the emergency ward of the hospital.

    By 5:30 pm, eight bodies, among them two females, had reached the hospital. Within the next one hour, seven injured were brought in, two in critical condition who were admitted to the ITU.

    Even three hours after the incident, neither the hospital authorities nor the police had a conclusive list of the dead.

    “They don’t have a list of the dead and they are not allowing us to identify our relatives,” said Saidul Islam Mollah, a resident of Panchpara in Sakrail who had come looking for his aunt and uncle.

    “My aunt and uncle were going to Howrah from where they were supposed to go to B C Roy polio clinic in Phoolbagan. They have not reached there. We fear the worst,” he said.

    The emergency ward was crowded with anxious relatives of the victims wanting to see if they were among the dead.

    “My brother is critically injured but we are not being allowed to meet him,” said Ashish Barui, brother of the bus driver, Vivekananda Barui. “While he was being brought here, he said the accident happened due to failure of the brakes,” he added.

    Subrata Chatterjee (57), a state government employee, reached the hospital and broke down. His 25-year-old son used to take the bus every day to teach at a coaching centre.

    “I can’t find my son Surja Prasad. I tried calling him on his cell but it is switched off. The hospital cannot give me any information. They do not have a list of the dead and injured,” he said amid tears. “Our first priority is to identify the bodies and treat the injured. An investigation has been initiated by the police,” said DM Sangamitra Ghosh.
     
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    Pintu New Member

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    The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Frontpage | Flyover death race

    Flyover death race
    - 11 killed as bus falls on Howrah tracks


    OUR BUREAU

    [​IMG]

    Howrah, July 4: A speeding minibus lost control while overtaking another from the wrong side on Bankim Setu off Howrah station this evening, broke through the concrete railings and dropped 35 feet onto the railway tracks, killing at least 11 passengers.

    Nine of the 24 other occupants — trapped in the upside-down mini till they were pulled out one by one — are battling serious injuries at Howrah District Hospital and Eastern Railway Orthopaedic Hospital. Several, including driver Vivekananda Parui, are critical. “The toll may go up,” a doctor said.

    Traffic is usually chaotic on Bankim Setu — which any vehicle leaving Howrah’s old station must take — especially in the morning and evening rush hours. Buses and minibuses race each other at will, and this is the third time since the mid-’90s that a bus has fallen off it.

    Parui, 40, has been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder and rash and negligent driving. He now lies unconscious at Howrah District Hospital.

    The Sankrail-Howrah minibus, which was racing another, reached the flyover around 4pm, witnesses said. Spotting a sliver of space between the railings and the Botanical Gardens mini ahead, Parui tried to squeeze past his rival from the left. He had almost pulled it off when he noticed a taxi ahead of him. He braked, skidded and ploughed through the railing.

    The fall was broken by the overhead rail wires, but they snapped and the bus landed on its roof in front of Howrah station’s platform No. 12.

    Howrah resident Ashok Agarwal, who was walking on the flyover’s other side, said he saw the bus approach “recklessly” and an “inner instinct” told him something “terrible” was about to happen. “It was trying to overtake the mini in front in whichever way possible, now swerving right, now left.” As Parui saw his chance and made the last left swerve, Agarwal said: “I almost shut my eyes; I couldn’t bear to see what was happening.”

    Overtaking, from any side, is banned on flyovers.

    Passenger Akbar Midde, 38, said from his bed at the railway hospital that the bus had been speeding for a long time and the passengers had been “quite scared”.

    “All the seats were occupied but there weren’t too many standing. Suddenly there was a massive jerk and we all slumped forward. Then we were suspended in air,” Midde said. As the bus landed with a “thundering crash”, he passed out.

    The platform crowd rushed towards the tracks but railway officials and police quickly cordoned them off and began rescue efforts.

    First, they turned off the power in the overhead wires. Then they smashed the mini’s windows with rods and began pulling the passengers out. Some local people joined in, breaking the windscreen.

    “As we were pulling the passengers out, we realised some of them were already dead,” a police officer said. “They were all jam-packed inside, injured and dead sandwiched together.”

    Howrah District Hospital, understaffed and unprepared for a crisis, was in chaos. All the injured were taken to the emergency ward. “We are trying to call in more doctors,” a hospital official said.

    Outside, relatives waited anxiously. “Where is my daughter Ruby?” an elderly woman asked plaintively. No one knew. Ruby Biwi, 30, is recovering at the other hospital.

    Railway minister Mamata Banerjee, who visited the spot tonight, said: “This is a sad and shocking incident.”

    It took over five hours to cut the bus into pieces and clear the tracks. “We’ll know the exact cause of the accident in a couple of days,” Howrah SP Neeraj Kumar said.
     
  7. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Bengal | Hospital chaos adds to tragedy

    Hospital chaos adds to tragedy


    A STAFF REPORTER

    [​IMG]
    An injured man in a Howrah
    hospital. Picture by Pradip Sanyal

    Howrah, July 4: Shabek Ali Mollah could not find his uncle and aunt who were on the Sankrail-Howrah bus.

    Three hours after the bus had fallen off Bankim Setu around 4pm, the Howrah District Hospital, where many of the victims were admitted, had still not put up a casualty list.

    “I am looking for my uncle and aunt. They were on that bus. Are they here?” an anxious Shabek asked, pushing through the crowd at the chaotic emergency department.

    No one had an answer.

    Many others too waited in vain for information about family members on the bus.

    Shabek then rushed to the Eastern Railway Orthopaedic Hospital, a 10-minute drive away. At the emergency counter, officials could not say if Saidul Islam Mollah and Nasima Bibi had been admitted there.

    Shabek began describing his uncle, with whom he had spoken only yesterday, to the doctors who were coming out of the ground-floor operation theatre.

    Still no luck. The doctors said no one of that description had been brought in. Shabek later found out from other relatives, who were still at the district hospital, that his uncle and aunt were dead.

    The 35-year-old from Sankrail fainted when he heard the news. The bodies, he was told, were at the district hospital.

    “How can they be dead… I spoke to my uncle just yesterday. They have three children. What will happen to them?” Shabek wept when he came to.

    The scene at the district hospital’s emergency department was sombre. Weeping relatives stood in a queue to enter the first-aid room where the bodies had been kept.

    Some came out with relief written on their faces because their relatives were not among the dead. Others broke down.

    The hospital, severely short of hands, struggled to provide medical attention and information.

    “We are doing our best. But we don’t have enough hands,” a doctor said.

    “We are trying to call in more doctors,” a hospital official said.

    The relatives of some of the injured wanted to take them to other hospitals for better treatment.

    “I didn’t think he would be alive after what I saw on television, but my nephew is all right. We want to take him to a better hospital so he can get better care,” said Sanjoy Pal, uncle of injured passenger Monotosh Pal.
     
  8. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Images of the Accident : Image : PTI , AFP as credited by The Times of India available at : The Times of India at : Bus veers off Howrah rail bridge, 12 killed - Kolkata - Cities - The Times of India


    [​IMG]
    People try to rescue passengers after a bus fell off a flyover near the Howrah
    railway station. (PTI Photo)

    [​IMG]
    Rescue workers remove a mangled bus following a deadly accident at a railway
    station in Howrah. (AFP Photo)

    [​IMG]
    At least 7 persons were killed and 40 others injured when a mini bus skidded off
    the Bankim Setu flyover and fell on the railway tracks at Howrah station. (PTI
    Photo)
     

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