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“The train was running at the speed of about 50km/hour. We were just 50-60 meters away when I saw the bridge collapsing. It happened right in front of me.”
At around 7.30 this morning, a section on the Gokhale bridge in Andheri, Mumbai, collapsed. The bridge was a part of the Andheri railway station and collapsed on the tracks. The highly dangerous incident has reportedly injured five people, but fortunately, no casualties have been reported so far.
The fallen bridge was certainly a threat to those on the platform, but it was even more so for the local train which was just a few meters away from where it collapsed.
The local train travelling from Churchgate to Dahanu was approaching the Andheri station. Another local had passed the route, just a few seconds ago.
Speaking to The Better India, Chandrashekhar Sawant, who was driving the Western Railways train said, “The train was running at the speed of about 50km/hour. We were just 50-60 meters away when I saw the bridge collapsing. It happened right in front of me. So I applied the emergency brakes and stopped just in time.”
It’s scary to think what tragedy could have befallen the train passengers, had Sawant been just a little late in applying the emergency brakes.
When we contacted him, Sawant was still on duty, unmoved by the tragedy that he had averted just this morning.
“We can’t just leave our vehicle,” he said, adding, “In the morning, after stopping the train, I informed the guards and authorities about what had happened, put on the flasher light as a signal and stood with a red flag to stop other trains. We are trained to do this.”
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Siddhesh Sawant, the heroic driver’s nephew, told TBI, “He is an ex-army man. So protecting lives is his duty. Nevertheless, I am proud of him. In fact, we all are!”
The early morning local carried hundreds of passengers. The delay of a few seconds could have been a tragedy that we would rather not imagine.
People quickly took to Twitter to thank Sawant on his presence of mind. His quick action saved hundreds of Mumbaikars from a horrible mishap today.
Saluting d presenc of mind of d driver who put an emergency break juz 100mts b4 d #bridge wich collapsed #Andheri. Imagine d huge mishap orelse. @bmcmumbai @AUThackeray @uddhavthackeray #AndheriROB #MumbaiBridgeCollapse #MumbaiRains @RailMinIndia
— Mrinalini Singh (@i_mrinalini) July 3, 2018
Hats off to #ChandrashekharSawant Hero motorman who saved train passing thr collapsing bridge @PiyushGoyalOffc @PiyushGoyal Hats off to him @ZeeNewsHindi @ZeeNews
— Pankaj Bhayani (@pankaj_bhayani) July 3, 2018
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)