The Dhaka-Chittagong train slammed into Chittagong-Sylhet train service Udayan Express on Tuesday, killing 16
The loco master of intercity train service Turna Nishita has confessed to his negligence that led to the train accident in Kasba, Brahmanbaria in the early hours of Tuesday, investigators said on Wednesday.
However, they did not reveal the specifics regarding the loco master’s negligence, which caused the fatal crash that killed 16 people and injured at least 70 others.
Bangladesh Railway Chief Operating Superintendent (East) Nazmul Islam, who is heading one of the five investigation committees formed to look into Tuesday’s accident, recorded the statement of Taser Uddin, the loco master of the Dhaka-bound train, coming from Chittagong, which crashed into Chittagong-bound Udayan Express.
Nazmul also recorded the statements of assistant loco master Anup Deb and guard Abdur Rahman of Turna Nishita, as well as the loco master, his assistant and the guards of Udayan Express, and the station master of Mondabagh railway station on Wednesday, at the railway’s east zone headquarters in Chittagong.
Another committee, also formed by Bangladesh Railway, recorded the statements of other staff members of Turna Nishita at the Dhaka office of the Bangladesh Railway on Wednesday.
The probe bodies also found that Turna Nishita overshot three signals before it crashed into Udayan Express.
Taser Uddin is one of the most senior loco masters in the Bangladesh Railway, with four years of service left before he takes his Leave Preparatory to Retirement (LPR).
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Mizanur Rahman, chief mechanical engineer (West) of Bangladesh Railway who is in one of the probe committees, said: “We have recorded all the statements of the loco masters, assistant loco masters, and guards of Turna Nishita and Udayan Express in our Chittagong office. We also took the statements of the station masters. We took note of some key points from their statements, which we will look into to understand what happened.”
Awshim Kumar Talukder, chief signal and telecommunication engineer at Bangladesh Railway (West), said the investigators would sit together on Thursday to go through the statements.
“Hopefully we will be able to figure out the exact cause of the accident,” he told Dhaka Tribune.
Another investigation team, formed by the Ministry of Railways, visited the accident site on Wednesday, where they collected information from the Mondobagh train station and recorded statements from witnesses, Rafiqul Islam, additional secretary at the ministry and convener of the probe committee, told Dhaka Tribune.
Taser and Anup were reportedly sleeping on the job, using a brick to hold the gear so the train would keep running.
As they were sleeping, they missed the outer home signal the station master at Mondobagh train station gave Turna Nishita, to wait for Udayan Express to clear out of the track.
Instead of waiting till Udayan completely moved to a different track, Turna Nishita ran at the speed of 60-70 kmph and hit the tail end of Udayan Express.
“Our primary investigation found that the loco master of Turna Nishita had violated the signal, which resulted in the train ploughing into Udayan Express,” Bangladesh Railway Additional Director General Mia Jahan said.
Taser, Anup and guard Abdur Rahman were all suspended on Tuesday, said Shariful Alam, senior information officer at the Ministry of Railway.