Rajasthan bus tragedy: Survivors’ stories that will make you believe in human resilience
“I don’t know what happened to me. I was stuck in the bus, half submerged in the water. I didn’t know how to swim, but it seems the gods gave me strength on seeing my son about to die. I somehow reached my son who was trying to stick his neck out of the water and pushed him up so that he could breathe”
Jaipur: The bus tragedy in Rajasthan’s Sawai Madhopur district on Saturday killed 33 people. The over-speeding bus with 42 people onboard broke the railing of a bridge and plunged about 100 feet into Banas River. The horror that the 10-odd survivors experienced is unimaginable. However some of these survivors fought the death with a kind of strength that they never knew even existed in them.
The man who held onto the pipe for one hour
Sonu Kumar was sitting at the rear of the bus.
“I realized that the bus was suddenly out of control. It fell into the river. Everyone started screaming, but before they could understand anything, the bus was submerged,” said Sonu.
Sonu felt suffocation. He jumped up to get hold of a pipe attached to the roof of the bus. He held it for nearly an hour, trying to keep his head out of the water before villagers pulled him out with a rope. He was almost unconscious when he was rescued.
Father saves 13-year-old son from the clutches of death
Vinod Prajapat, a native of Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh, was travelling to Dausa along with his 13-year-old son Anurag. After the bus plunged into the river, he saw his son drowning.
“I don’t know what happened to me. I was stuck in the bus, half submerged in the water. I didn’t know how to swim, but it seems the gods gave me strength on seeing my son about to die. I somehow reached my son who was trying to stick his neck out of the water and pushed him up so that he could breathe,” said Vinod.
People of nearly residential localities who had launched a rescue operation somehow pulled the father-son duo out of the water. They both survived.
The woman who saved two lives, but lost her daughter
Kamlesh Kushwaha opened her eyes in the hospital after she gained consciousness. She hysterically started screaming calling out the name of her 3-year-old daughter.
Her daughter was in her lap when the bus fell into the river. Kamlesh hit the bus’s window with her head repeatedly and managed to break it, but when she was coming out of the bus, her daughter slipped from her grip. She pulled two other women out of the window and fell unconscious.
A woman who died, but saved her son
When the bodies were being pulled out, those involved in the rescue saw a child clinging to the body of his mother. They were shocked to find that the child was alive while his mother had died. They rushed him to a hospital where he underwent treatment and survived.