LUCKNOW: The witnesses of the ill-fated train compartment, which caught fire in Madurai, walked out of the airport on Sunday with a mixed feeling — the joy of getting a new life and the sadness of losing their dear ones.
A resident of Hardoi, Pradeep Gupta (62) said that “sunlight had not completely set in and we were all asleep when suddenly a cloud of smoke engulfed us. In the next few minutes, panic spread as an unmanageable number of people jammed into the narrow space of the compartment.The passengers got toppled and stacked on one another.”
Another passenger, Sushila Singh (51) of Sitapur, said that the chaotic rush was so intense that clothes got ripped off. “We rushed out leaving our belongings and cash,” she said.


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An agent at the post office in Lakhimpur Kheri, Jyoti Gupta (51), who was on her first sojourn to the South after paying Rs 20,700 for the package to Bhasin Tours for a trip to Madurai, Kanyakumari and Rameswaram, said, “In a compartment, there are washrooms on the two opposite sides. Washroom in one side was locked and it was converted into a kitchen. I was going outside when I noticed some foul smell, like that of LPG. Before I could understand anything a cloud of smoke engulfed us, and everybody started coughing and rushing out. It was utter chaos,” said Jyoti.

“All through the journey, we kept objecting to the tour operators about cooking and serving us tea around 6 am,” she told TOI. Jyoti added that neither the RPF nor the police objected to it. “Five others in our group had also accompanied us and fortunately arrived safely,” she said.

Madurai Train Fire:'Lucknow passengers lost their lives while cooking in a private IRCTC coach,' say officials


Madurai Train Fire:’Lucknow passengers lost their lives while cooking in a private IRCTC coach,’ say officials

Another resident of Sitapur, Shiv Pratap Singh (65), said he was feeling uneasy and woke up to find a pandemonium inside the coach. “People were shouting and wrestling to get out,” he recalled. “I spotted a woman and two children locked near the door. So, I quickly brought out a wrench and broke it to rescue them,” he said. “I managed to rescue four people, but my own family members, Mithlesh Singh and Shatru Daman Singh, died,” he said.

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