Survivors of Mahanadi crash recall horror

One of the survivors remembers seeing glass shattering and people being thrown out of the window

By Lalmohan Patnaik and Subhashish Mohanty in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar
  • Published 22.11.18, 1:58 AM
  • Updated 22.11.18, 1:58 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Ayushman Das, a survivor of the Mahanadi bridge bus crash. Badrika Nath Das

“I saw the bus going down. I heard people screaming before the bus hit the sand,” recalled Rajendra Nayak, a 32 year-old native of Talcher who survived the Mahanadi bridge bus crash here on Tuesday.

Nayak, a bread seller who was on his way to Bhubaneswar, said he was on his cell phone when the bus rammed the railings of the bridge. “I sensed something was wrong when I felt a jolt,” he said.

Nayak remembered seeing broken glass and some passengers being thrown out of the bus by the impact of the crash on the sand in the dry Mahanadi riverbed. He climbed out of the bus through a broken window.

“I am yet to get over the shock,” he said as he lay on a bed at the trauma care ward of SCB Medical College and Hospital. He suffered injuries to his right leg and left ribs.

Ayushman Dash, 21, heaved a sigh of relief and thanked Lord Jagannath for his miraculous escape. Dash, a second-year engineering student of Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology, said: “When I heard the bang, I thought the tyre of the bus had burst. I caught hold one of the bus railings. Only three to four passengers were fortunate enough to have come out without any injuries.”

Dash said: “It took me a while to realise what had happened. I sat down for two minutes after coming out of the bus. Then I composed myself, called my brother and informed him about the accident. Along with some others, we pulled out some passengers.”

“I was upset on hearing that my senior in the college, Kumar Ranjan Swamy, died in the accident. He was going to college to collect his certificates,” said Dash.

Sitting on her hospital bed, Lucy Mohanty, a 26-year-old survivor from Bhubaneswar, said: “There was a cloud of sand and dust all around as the bus hit the river bank. That was the last thing I remember. I regained senses much later.”

Lucy, a mathematics lecturer at Nilakantheswar Mahavidyalaya at Balanda near Talcher, suffered injuries to her forehead and right leg.

In the bed next to her at SCB was 65-year-old Salman Bibi of Mehendipir in Cuttack with critical injuries to her head and left hand. She had gone to Talcher and was returning home in the bus with her grandson Sonu Khan (daughter’s son) when the mishap occurred.

Thirteen-year-old Sonu, who suffered injury ton his head, was the first to come out of the bus after the crash and call police from his cell phone.

Lucy Mohanty, a survivor of the Mahanadi bridge bus crash.
Lucy Mohanty, a survivor of the Mahanadi bridge bus crash. Badrika Nath Das