A prudent course of action taken by two friends saved several hundreds of lives from a horrific train accident in Kalihati upazila, Tangail on Sunday.
Risking their own lives, Balaram Rajbangshi and Nayeb Ali stopped the Dhaka-bound Nilsagor Express from getting onto a precarious rail bridge by waving a red flag.
Balaram, who was on his way to his fish store like any other day, discovered a large pothole, created by soil erosion, in the connecting part of the bridge early on Sunday.
He immediately called his friend Nayeb and some other local people.
The two youths, who knew the train's schedule, realised that it was due to cross the bridge within a few minutes.
With the assistance of other locals, they managed to find a red scarf and tied it at the top of a bamboo stick to make red flag.
The two friends then started waving the flag to catch the train driver's attention as they noticed the train 500m away from the bridge.
Fortunately, the driver saw the flag in time and was able to stop the train before getting onto the bridge.
When contacted, Nayeb Ali told this correspondent he was grateful to have been able to stop the train in time.
“It feels great to have been able to save the lives of so many people. I cannot imagine what would have happened if the train had not stopped in time,” he said.
Afzal Hossain, president of a local traders' association, told the Dhaka Tribune: “We are proud of the people of our locality for such a brave action.”
Tangail’s Elenga municipality Panel Mayor Abdul Barek said: “Those two friends have done a great job. A number of coaches might have gotten derailed had the train got onto the bridge.”
The locals also tried their best to help the passengers of the train by providing them with food and water.
They also urged the authorities concerned to award Balaram and Nayeb for their bravery in a bid to inspire other people to come forward in such difficult situations in future.