Odisha train crash: Man rejects news of son’s death, finds him alive… in a morgue

A man from Kolkata, capital city of West Bengal, eastern India, refused to believe that his son had died in the horrific three-train crash in neighbouring Odisha on June 2. He hired an ambulance and travelled more than 200 kilometres to the crash site, and found his son alive… in a makeshift morgue.

One of the many temporary morgues near the Odisha train crash site. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@samanth18

The father, Helaram Malik, is a shopkeeper based in Howrah, and his son, Biswajit Malik, 24, was on the ill-fated Coromandel Express going from Shalimar station in Howrah, the sister city of Kolkata, to Chennai Central station in Tamil Nadu. Biswajit, nearly lifeless, was mistaken for dead. But Helaram refused to believe this and went on looking for his son.

Also read: Odisha train crash: Signal mistake put Coromandel Express on the death track; no Kavach on this route

Coromandel was derailed while passing through Odisha just hours after it left Shalimar. Helaram called his son as soon as news broke about the huge crash. On the phone, Biswajit spoke in a very faint voice: he was definitely alive, though grievously wounded. Helaram immediately hired a local ambulance, asked a family member to come along, and set out to find Biswajit.

Upon reaching Balasore, the major town nearest to the crash site where all or most of the injured are being treated, Helaram could not find Biswajit in any hospital. But he went on looking, just asking and asking and asking, until he reached a makeshift morgue in a school building, where train crash victims’ bodies were kept.

Even there, it looked hopeless, because Helaram was not allowed to go inside. But soon, a miracle happened: someone inside the temporary morgue noticed that the right hand of one of the bodies was trembling, and everyone began talking. Helaram was not inside, but he was at the doorway, and he saw the hand move. That hand, it was then revealed, belonged to his son, Biswajit.

The injured man was immediately taken to a hospital in Balasore, resuscitated, and then brought back to Kolkata by the hired ambulance. In Kolkata, the victim underwent surgery at a top hospital and is now receiving trauma care, awaiting further surgeries.