Patna: Unlike many other journeys they had undertaken in the past, it was an altogether different kind of experience for the survivors of the Indore-Patna Express derailment at Pukhrayan in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday morning.
Having seen close to 145 of their co-passengers dying in the deadly derailment, most of them burst into tears, some crying aloud and hugging their family members, relatives and friends as they reached Patna in a special train on Monday morning.
Unable to forget the trauma they underwent post derailment of their train, it took them quite some time to believe that they had actually reached their destination alive and were being hugged by their loved ones.
Although dozens of them had minor injuries, the pain was overcome by the joy of reaching alive and reuniting with their families.
"They burst into tears and cried holding the window panes of the coaches of the crawling special train, as they saw their family members and friends standing on the platform for them. It was an emotional meeting of survivors with their kin," R.K.Jha, DRM of Danapur Railway Division, said.
Jha, along with other senior railway officials and Patna District Magistrate Sanjay Agrawal, was present on the platform when survivors arrived in the special train.
Anita Singh, one of the survivors, said: "We cannot forget the memories of death and destruction and how we survived inside the ill-fated Indore-Patna Express train."
She was escorted home by her family members.
Saba Bano, another survivor, said: "Don`t know how to react. I am simply out of words... God is great!" That was all she could say.
Another passenger Puja Singh and her husband Virender Singh said it was like a "killer earthquake". "It is still difficult for us to believe that we survived and are safe," they said.
"I am thankful to God for keeping us alive," a visibly shocked and shaken Puja said touching the head of her children.
Singh said initially he did not realise what had happened, but after a few minutes he understood the gravity of the situation. "It was pitch dark all around...people were screaming and shouting."
"I wriggled to safety through the windows, as there was no other way to escape. We saw dead bodies lying all over the place and people screaming, wailing and falling unconscious to see their kin dead. O God, it`s going to haunt me for a long, long time," Saba told IANS.
Sanjay Agrawal had instructed the officials to provide all possible help to the survivors on their arrival here.
"We have provided drinking water, food packets and essential medicines, and ensured that they reach their home safely," he said.
According to Agrawal, nearly two dozen ambulances and other vehicles were used to ferry survivors to their homes.
At least 142 people were killed, including 15 from Bihar, and more than 150 injured when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express train derailed near Kanpur.