Train crash: For some, no end in sight to search for their dear ones

The bodies stored at AIIMS Bhubaneswar are badly maimed and dismembered. It is impossible to recognise them.

Train crash: For some, no end in sight to search for their dear ones

[Photo: ANI]

45-year-old Manoj Srivastav’s five-day ordeal in the quest for his near and dear ones missing since Friday’s horrific train accident in Balasore district sums up the prevailing human misery, gloom in the aftermath of one of the deadliest rail crashes that the country has encountered.

The man rushed to Balasore all the way from Samastipur in Bihar on Saturday to find six passengers from his native village, including his younger brother, dead or alive. He visited all the hospitals, including AIIMS-Bhubaneswar, in the course of his 96-hour-long agonizing trial.

His quest has finally paid off with one of the missing person was traced in the cold mortuary of the premiere hospital. However, there is no trace of five others, including his brother, either in the hospital or the mortuary.


Five days after the mishap, there is no end to the human misery as AIIMS is grappling with the arduous task of storing the unidentified and unclaimed dead bodies continues to depict the emotion-jerking scene of disconsolate people breaking down.

Calling it the worst nightmare of his life, Srivastav said, “I visited everywhere, right from the accident site to all the hospitals in Odisha.  At the AIIMS, I managed to identify one of the missing persons from my village. My younger brother could neither be found at hospitals nor at the mortuary at the AIIMS. A DNA sample was collected from me so that the samples may match with bodies stored here, he bemoaned.

The bodies stored here are badly maimed and dismembered. It was impossible to recognise them. “More than the search at the hospitals, searching the bodies at the mortuary was nightmarish and frightening. I pray to God such misfortune does not befall on anyone. There is faint hope of my brother surviving the deadly rail crash. Only a miracle could save him,” he conceded with tears welling up in his eyes.

The Centre-run hospital is besieged with an assembly of distraught and devastated people who are making last ditch effort to find their loved ones-dead or alive.

Sapan Giri, from North 24 Pargana, has a similar tale to tell as many of those who have made it to the AIIMS-Bhubaneswar and believe that their relatives were consumed by the devastating accident haunts everyone.

“I have searched everywhere. But nothing has come out of it. I failed to locate my younger brother. DNA samples have been drawn from me. I have been told that it will take at least a week for the diagnosis to come out. I will stay here till the report comes out,” he narrated.

Like Giri, family members and relatives of several persons, who are still untraceable, spoke on the same line with grief and trauma writ large on their faces.

Meanwhile, 33 DNA samples collected at AIIMS-Bhubaneswar have been sent to Delhi for DNA sampling. Currently, 89 bodies are preserved in the mortuary and refrigerated containers while 71 bodies have been handed over to the relatives after identification, said the hospital authorities.

Chaos and confusion continues to prevail here as over 200 people have turned up here to identify the bodies. The crux of the problem is that all the bodies have been disposed of except 71.

A large turnout of people in frantic search of their missing relatives is adding pressure to the overstressed staff. Psychiatric counselors have been deployed to assist the distraught people in this hour of crisis.