Peruman railway accident
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|Peruman railway accident|
Memorial at Peruman
|Date||July 8, 1988.|
|Location||Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam district, Kerala|
|Rail line||Kollam - Ernakulam line between stations Kollam and Karunagappalli|
|Type of incident||Derailment|
In the Peruman Train Tragedy, the Bangalore - Kanyakumari Island Express train derailed on the Peruman bridge over Ashtamudi Lake, near Perinadu, Kollam, Kerala, India and fell into the lake, killing 105 people on July 8, 1988.
Officials say the cause for the accident was a tornado. But still the cause of accident remains a mystery. Ten bogie carriages of the Island Express fell into Ashtamudi Lake, and more than 200 persons were seriously injured.
The Peruman Train Tragedy is one of the largest train tragedies in the history of the Indian state of Kerala. Indian Railways constructed a new bridge across the lake. The old bridge remains in memorial of the Peruman Tragedy. On July 8, 2008 the government of Kerala and the relatives paid homage at the crash site.
Movie based on Island Express
There is a short movie by Shankar Ramakrishnan that has been titled as "Island Express". The cast includes Prithviraj,Jayasurya,Rahman,Maniyan Pilla Raju...and cinematography is by S.Kumar. The movie describes about the connection of different people and their journey after the accident.
As per P. Venugopal, The Hindu news paper's correspondent for Alappuzha district then.
|“||We had no reporter for Kollam at that time and I was supposed to cover Kollam district also. The accident happened around 1.15 p.m. I remember I got a phone call from a friend in Malayala Manorama around 1.45 p.m. saying a big tragedy has occurred at Perumon. Those days there was no mobile phone. It was sheer luck to get the information so fast. I had an old ambassador car. I remember driving at 80's and 90's and reaching the spot by 3.30. I remember vividly everything that I saw and did over the next three days camping in Kollam to cover the tragedy, but if I write all that it is going to take a lot of space in the comment column here.
Months later, the Chief Railway Safety Commissioner called me also for the inquiry. I was asked to bring with me the notes I had scribbled on those days, talking to witnesses etc. Suryanarayana (the Chief Safety Commissioner), interviewed me for nearly one hour during his sitting in TVM. After his finding was published, I realised he had been, all through the questioning, trying to get from me depositions to strengthen his pre-decided tornado theory. I had filed a story in our paper about a person who was crossing the bridge when the train chugged its way on to the bridge (This report was, what we call in the profession, an 'exclusive'.) He had stepped into one of those pedestrian boxes they have on such bridges. His version of seeing the bogies falling into the river all around him, somehow by luck sparing him, was presented in my report with the full drama of the experience. He had spoken to me about the whistling sound of the wind and a slight drizzle that was on and I was a cub reporter those days and I had pitched the whole thing strong. My report was one of the things Mr. Suryanarayana had used to substantiate the tornado theory, I fear.
It is not clear if this accident was a simple derailment, bridge collapse or washaway. Most eyewitnesses say the train was running at a speed higher than what they saw on other days. Some others say that some track maintenance was going on with speed restriction which the driver did not observe.