A train ploughed into a bus early yesterday at a level crossing, killing at least one man and injuring over 20 others, two critically, almost 12 hours after the manually-operated barrier malfunctioned.
Officials of the nearby Chinki Astana Railway Station said they were aware of the broken barrier but decided to wait until yesterday morning before informing higher officials.
Sunirmal Chakma, 55, died when the Khagrachhari-bound bus was hit by Chittagong-bound Bijoy Express train at Bariyarhat Rail Crossing in Chittagong's Mirsharai around 4:00am yesterday.
Moinul Huda Majumdar, senior station master of Chinki station, said he knew about the barrier at the crossing but did not want to contact the higher authorities concerned at night.
“We were supposed to contact the divisional transportation officer in the morning. But the accident has happened ... We did not think it would,” he told The Daily Star.
Mohammad Arif, in-charge of operating barriers at the crossing, said one of the barriers went out of order on Saturday afternoon.
He added that he was closing the working bar at the time of the crash.
Asked, Firoz Iftekhar, divisional transportation officer, said he was not informed of the matter.
“A probe committee has been formed,” he said.
Meanwhile, two passengers of the bus, Diba Rani Chakma and her husband Pushpeswar Chakma of Khagrachhari, were seen writhing in pain at Chittagong Medical College Hospital yesterday afternoon.
Diba had multiple cuts on her body while Pushpeswar's right leg was broken.
They were trapped in the mangled vehicle until locals and firefighters arrived and rescued them.
Most of the passengers were asleep at the time of the crash, said Milton Tripura, another injured at the hospital.
Mirsharai Fire Station Inspector Rabiul Azam said, “Three fire engines rushed to the scene and rescued the injured with the help of locals. Some 15 were sent to CMCH.”
He added that train movement was halted for over two hours.