Metro train leaves station with man's hand stuck in rake; he dies
Kolkata: In a shocking incident, a 66-year-old man died on Saturday evening after being dragged through the tunnel between Park Street and Maidan Metro stations, a distance of a few metres, hanging precariously from an AC rake with his arm stuck in the train. The victim has been identified as Sajal Kumar Kanjilal, son of S K Kanjilal of 91/24 B, Bosepukur Road, PS Kasba, Kolkata 42.
As the rake started moving, the victim eventually hit the tunnel wall and fell on the track. He was declared "brought dead" after being rushed to SSKM Hospital. Whether the man died after coming in contact with the third rail or due to serious injuries in his head will only be confirmed after the postmortem. This is the first such incident in the city where a victim died in a Metro rail in this manner.
The incident led to suspension of the motorman and the guard of the AC rake with the Metro Railways authorities constituting an inquiry team comprising five members. The Commissioner of Railway Safety is expected to head the probe team. The Metro Railways admitted negligence was behind the incident. The Mamata Banerjee government has announced a compensation to the kin of the deceased.
The CM termed the incident 'tragic' and added that the Metro rakes are not properly maintained. She also stated that a family member of the victim may be given a job.
The incident occurred at around 6.40 pm when the AC rake started moving from Park Street with the victim hanging from outside with his hand stuck inside the coach. According to eyewitnesses, the rake stopped with a jerk inside the tunnel between Park Street and Maidan. The Kavi Subhas-bound train remained inside the tunnel for nearly 40 minutes with services remaining suspended.
"The train suddenly halted with a jerk soon after leaving Park Street. We remained trapped inside for 25 minutes before being evacuated by the emergency door on the guard's side. The AC was not functioning. We felt a burning smell while being confined inside the train. We tried to contact the emergency number but it did not function," said Souvik Majumdar, who was travelling in the same rake.
The passengers alleged that the door sensor did not work, leading to the tragedy. They also questioned why the motorman, whose job is to ensure that the doors are properly closed, failed to spot the man hanging from the door, a portion of which was not properly shut.
Senior Metro officials reached the spot soon after the incident. The RPF personnel recovered the victim from the track and sent him to SSKM Hospital where he was declared "brought dead". Hundreds of passengers staged a protest at Park Street following the incident. After being instructed by the Chief Minister, state Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister Firhad Hakim reached the spot.
"It is an unfortunate incident. A high-level inquiry team has been formed. CCTV footages are being examined. We are trying to fix accountability. Whether the door sensor worked or not will be confirmed after the probe. We are requesting the public not to board the train after the door alarm is rung," Indrani Banerjee, the Metro CPRO, said.
It was learnt that it was one of the rakes which were brought in from Chennai. Train services in the Down line resumed at around 7.40 pm.