| Jagdish Agarwal in hospital. Picture by Kundan Yolmo
Oct. 24: Bruised, bleeding and broken from a 100 m fall as their car tumbled down a ravine, Jagdish Dayal Agarwal’s family waited out the night without food or water and thousands of ants and mosquitoes swarming on their wounds, praying for morning and help to arrive.
Morning did, but not help. With his wife groaning in pain, his children hurt and shocked, Agarwal decided to take his chances against the thick forest cover around and find help on the banks of the gushing Teesta, a few hundred feet below.
His efforts paid off. Agarwal spotted two youths fishing near Kalijhora.
Lying in the intensive care unit of a nursing home in Siliguri, 52-year-old Agarwal, a businessman from Jaigaon, thanked the Gods for saving all five of them. He does not know how his wife, son and two grandchildren managed to spend nearly 12 hours on the slope of the hill below NH 31A, from where his car rolled down around 5 pm yesterday.
Agarwal was driving the red Alto when they left Kalimpong last evening. When the car reached Lower Pool near Kalijhora, about 45 km from Kalimpong, a bus from the opposite direction hit them with its rear while going past.
“The headlights were smashed. We were left in the dark. After a period of numbness and then excruciating pain, I heard my son Akash, 12, from somewhere above. He had managed to jump out before the car tumbled down,” said Agarwal.
“Akash scrambled down to help me. My finger was bleeding and I could not move my right hand. I limped off looking for my wife, Janaki and grandchildren — Avishek, 7, and Priyanka, 8. They were in the backseat and screaming for help. But there was no trace of my wife,” he said.
Almost an hour later, Jagdish heard her groaning. She had fallen a few meters below them and could not move. The youths who were fishing called villagers and contacted the Agarwals’ relatives. Doctors said the children escaped with minor injuries. Both Jagdish and Janaki suffered multiple fractures but were out of danger.