They nodded off controls!
Special Correspondent :
The loco master (driver) and his assistant of intercity train 'Turna Nishitha' believed to be nodded off at the controls when two commuter trains collided at Mondobhag Railway Sation in Kasba early Tuesday, leaving at least 16 dead and injuring dozens.
Even, most passengers were asleep when the crash occurred.
The rail line between the Cumilla and Akhaura being single lane, decision was taken to give intercity Turna Nishitha through pass halting at Udayan Express at the Mondobhag Railway Sation.
It was also decided the Turna-Nishitha would wait at the outer of the station until the Udayan Express enters.
Yet, ignoring three signals Turna Nishitha hit Udayan Express at a speed of 60-70kmh, leading to the Mondobhag tragedy, according to Additional Director General of Bangladesh Railway Mia Jahan.
Mia Jahan also said that the fatal accident occurred due to the irresponsibility of the train driver and his assistant of Turna Nishitha.
The loco master Taser Uddin, Assistant loco master Apu Dey and working guard Abdur Rahman have been absconding since the accident.
An east zone railway official quoting rescuers told The New Nation yesterday that Turna Nishitha was at the auto-brake at the time of the accident. The loco master and his assistant may be nodded off control keeping the train at 'auto brake'.
Three signals were given to the Turna Nishitha from Mondobhag Railway Station to stay in the outer.
"Why the two drivers did not see any of the signals? Besides, there were several technical processes, including outer, home and starter. But the drivers ignored all and finally the Turna Nishitha hit Udayan Express at a speed of about 6o-70kmh," said the railway official.
He added, "The tragic accident could have been avoided even if Turna Nishitha waited two minutes more in the outer. Nine compartments of the Udayan Express had entered the station by this time and Turna Nishitha crumpled three of them."
Chattogram-bound Udayan Express from Sylhet and Dhaka-bound Turna Nishitha Express from Chattogram collided at Mondobhag Railway Station around 3:00am.
Railway's East Zone Deputy Director (Public Relations) Towshia Ahmed told The New Nation that Turna Nishitha's loco master Taser Uddin, Assistant loco master Apu Dey and guard Abdur Rahman were suspended Bangladesh Railway authorities have formed three probe committees, and the Railway Ministry and the Brahmanbaria district administration also set up a panel each to investigate the crash.