Toll now 30 in Tamil Nadu Express fire

The toll in the Tamil Nadu Express fire mishap rose to 30 following the death of one of the injured, Sukhdev Singh, 23, of Tilvandi Dogra village, 20 km from Amritsar, in Punjab, at Narayana general hospital here on Saturday.

Sukhdev had suffered severe burns on his face and legs and the carbon monoxide he inhaled had damaged his lungs.

He was was on ventilator support at the hospital from the first day itself.

The victim’s father, Gurudeep Singh, a senior khalasi at the railway workshop at Amritsar, and uncle Majith Singh, an employee in the electricity board in Amritsar, rushed to Nellore on learning of the accident.

Sukhdev had called his father on his mobile from the burning coach and told him that his clothes had caught fire.

“I was shocked when he told me that his clothes were on fire. He urged me to come immediately and take care of him,” said a grief-stricken Gurudeep Singh.

The mobile phone was with him when he was hospitalised and the staff handed over the phone to Gurudeep Singh.

Manjith Singh said Sukhdev was on his way to Chennai to join the Indian Marine University.
“Sukhdev was a determined person. His ambition was to become a naval officer.

He took permission from the education department to pursue intermediate (plus-two) a second time to improve his marks and become eligible for the course. He secured 75 per cent marks in his second attempt.”

“He was the only son of the family. His two younger sisters are M.A. first year and second year students,” said Manjith Singh in a choked voice.

On Friday, Sambasiva Rao, 33, who was admitted to a private hospital in Vadapalani on Monday with 90 per cent burns, had succumbed to injuries. Rao’s relatives collected his body and left for Juvannapudi village in Krishna district.

They told Deccan Chronicle that Rao had settled with his software professional wife, Jhansi, in Chennai as she was working for an IT firm here and used to travel frequently between Vijayawada and Chennai on work.

On July 30, Rao had boarded the ill-fated S11 coach of Tamil Nadu Express at Vijayawada, hoping to meet his daughter and wife the next morning.

Rao, who was also involved in dubbing movies in Telugu and Tamil, is survived by two daughters, Trishkala, 12, and Niharika 8.

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