Four people died and 26 were injured when they jumped off a runaway train in Tongi of Gazipur yesterday.
Witnesses and officials said four carriages of Dhaka-bound Jamalpur commuter train got detached and began to run away a few minutes after the train left Tongi Railway Station in Gazipur around 12:30pm.
People on the roof and inside the carriages jumped off in Natunbazar area, resulting in casualties, they said, adding that two of the carriages also derailed.
Three died on the spot while another person was declared dead at Dhaka Medical College Hospital. All the deceased had jumped off the roof of the train.
Six of the injured were transferred to DMCH while the rest were admitted to a local hospital.
Following the accident, rail service between Dhaka and the rest of the country, except Narayanganj, remained suspended for more than four hours.
Communication was restored at 4:45pm when the carriages were removed, said Syed Faruk Ahmed, general manager (East) of Bangladesh Railway. Three fire engines had rushed to the spot.
The reason for the accident could not be known immediately.
Officer-in-Charge Yasin Faruk of Dhaka Railway Police Station said the train carriages detached and derailed as the train was switching lines. He said the bodies had been sent to Dhaka Medical College morgue for autopsy.
Railway authorities formed a three-member probe committee led by its chief engineer (East) Md Arifuzzaman. The committee is to submit their report within three days.
Jarina Begum, a passenger of the train said she along with her elder sister and son Israfil was travelling from Mymensingh to Dhaka. The train waited for around one hour at Tongi Railway Station. As the train left the station, it started shaking unusually and after sometime, they found their carriage was detached.
“Then, we jumped off the train. My son's right leg was broken but we survived unhurt,” she said at DMCH where her son was admitted.
Witnesses said panicked passengers on board and on the roof jumped off shouting “fire, fire”.
Three of the deceased were identified. They are: Amir Uddin, 35, Khokon, 37, and Shahadat Hossain, 35.
Rickshaw puller Shahadat was pronounced dead after he was taken to the DMCH in critical condition, said Shahadat's maternal uncle Aminul Islam who was injured.
Masud Rana, a doctor of Ahsanullah Master Health Complex in Tongi, said seven injured, including Shahadat, were transferred to DMCH while seven others were admitted in his hospital. Twelve took first aid.
Asked about the reason for the accident, Railway GM (East) Syed Faruk Ahmed pointed to the ongoing probe.
Sources, however, claimed that the train line-changing mechanism had been triggered while the train was changing lines. This caused the carriages to detach and eventually derail.
Railways Minister Mazibul Hoque and Railway Director General Amzad Hossain visited the spot and assured monetary assistance for the families of the deceased and promised to bear the cost of treatment of the injured.