Curated By: Saurabh Verma
Last Updated: June 05, 2023, 16:38 IST
Kolkata [Calcutta], India
Minutes after the reports of Coromandel Express meeting a tragic accident in Odisha’s Balasore on Friday surfaced, Helaram, a shopkeeper based in West Bengal’s Howrah, dialled his son who was on board the train to know if he was okay.
“He was alive, but in terrible pain,” was the reply from the other side, a message that made Helaram travel more than 230 kilometres to be there for his son. Without wasting any time, Helaram left for Balasore on Friday night with an ambulance and his brother-in-law Dipak Das.
After reaching Balasore, Helaram could not find his son Biswajit Malik (24). He went from one hospital to another, seeing the bodies of those who lost lives in the tragedy. But he refused to believe his son had died and continued to search for him.
“We never gave up. We went around asking people, hoping to get leads on where to go next. One person told us that if we could not find anyone in the hospital, we should look at the Bahanaga high school, where the bodies were kept. We could not accept it, but went anyway,” Dipak told Times of India.
After hours of searching, Helaram and Dipak finally reached the morgue. While they were looking for Biswajit, a commotion broke out after a person saw movement in a victim’s body. Biswajit was lying there unconsciously and injured badly. Helaram immediately took him to the nearest hospital which referred him to Cuttack Medical College Hospital. But Helaram got his son discharged from the Cuttack hospital and drove to Kolkata where he underwent surgery at SSKM Hospital’s trauma care unit.
Ambulance driver Palash Pandit, who accompanied Helaram to Odisha, said Biswajit was unconscious during the long journey from Balasore to Kolkata.
At least 275 people died in the accident involving Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train that took place near the Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore, located approximately 250 km south of Kolkata and 170 km north of Bhubaneswar on Friday at around 7 PM.
The identities of 170 bodies including 85 each in Balasore and Bhubaneswar have been confirmed. The Odisha government will send the bodies to their respective families at its own expense. “Besides, we will send the death certificate to the family members of the deceased at the earliest,” the government said.