M A I N   N E W S

survivor story
In Jalandhar, his whole world came crashing down
Deepkamal Kaur/TNS

Jalandhar, April 17
The darkness after Sunday’s tragedy at Shital Fibres lasted 32 hours for yarn spinner Manoj Bhagat, who finally saw the light of day at 7.30 am today. A split second decision to go back inside the factory for his friend left the 30-year-old with an amputated leg and scars that could take long to heal.

A total of 60 persons have been rescued so far, but many are still feared buried under the debris even as rescue operations continued in full swing on Day 2.

The 30-year-old from Bihar was working the night-shift on one of the yarn spinning machines on the ground floor when disaster struck. He fought fear, hunger, thirst and continuous pain in his right leg.

He managed to remove his own shirt, tear a piece of it and tie it tightly around his leg. But the injury was far too serious. Manoj’s right leg was amputated at the Civil Hospital here this afternoon.

“A crack had appeared in one wall of the factory on Saturday, but we all ignored it. Just two minutes before the collapse, cement chunks started falling off from one of the walls of the ground floor. We ignored that too and returned to work,” says Manoj, the sole breadwinner of his family.

But it was this brief warning that could have saved Manoj and many others. “Just as we got back to work, the entire factory collapsed like a deck of cards. Since my machine was near the entrance, I managed to rush out. Then I realised that my friend Baghi Chand was sleeping in the factory. I had to go back inside and get him. In no time, I was trapped under tonnes of concrete,” he recalls. “I yelled out in pain but soon realised that there was no one around to help me. I managed to reach my cellphone and tried making calls, but it was not working. I had no option but to bear the pain quietly and wait for help to reach me,” he recalls.

Having remained under the debris for long, Bhagat lost sense of time. “I can’t believe it that I was came out alive after five days,” he kept repeating. When told that he had been rescued after 32 hours, he disagreed and said it was definitely much longer. “I did not have a watch. The watch in my cellphone also stopped working,” he murmured.

Satinder Kumar was fortunate to come out completely unhurt. His ordeal ended at 10.30 pm yesterday NDRF Commandant RK Verma managed to reach him. He, too, was sheltered by a machine.

“As soon as we brought out Satinder, he ran off in a fraction of second and has not been seen after that. His fellow workers called out to him, but he was probably too shocked and just rushed off. He appeared physically fine,” said Commandant Verma.

Vir Chand of Vaishali village in Bihar was also among the lucky ones to make it out alive today. He sustained injuries on his head and right arm and was rushed to the Devi Talab Hospital. He was not in a condition to talk.





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