As per a report
In Kolkata in India on Thursday morning, when a driverless tram barreled on and rammed into 10 cars at an intersection. In the Hollywood movie ‘Unstoppable’ two men make a desperate attempt to stop a runaway train. On the rain-drenched Thursday morning, two local youths sprinted to the rescue — while one of them jumped into the driver’s cabin and stopped the tram the other shoved people out of harm’s way. A car driver suffered a minor injury but scores of lives were saved, thanks to the two friends, who had nothing much to do all day but lounge on the footpath, until something came on their way for them to show their camouflaged bravery.
According to initial police reports, the tram was standing at the tram depot at South Kolkata (Ballygunje Phanri) at 9.45am when it lost its connection to the power lines above. “The tram stopped and the driver, for some reasons, stepped off the tram. As power was reconnected, the tram surged ahead without brakes and hit several cars parked at the road sides. “An FIR has been lodged,” said a Gariahat police officer. Some locals claim the driver leaped off after the tram rammed the first car, but this couldn’t be verified.
Panic spread at the busy intersection as the tram trundled into rush-hour traffic like a playful child, battering into everything it was coming in contact with. Pedestrians leaped out of the way and cars got crunched and crushed, leading to a huge traffic jam. On the other side of the signal, the area between Kwality restaurant and Dhaba, some commuters were still trying to hail the tram, unaware that it was hurtling down towards them.
At this point, some locals idling by, Dinesh Lal and Chandan Kapadia, sprang into action. Dinesh, who jumped into the tram, realized he had no clue how to stop it. “I have never been in such a situation and had no idea where the brake was. There was a long handle. It was the biggest thing around. I closed my eyes and pulled it. Thankfully, the tram stopped,” he said. Chandan said: “I saw the whole thing. Dinesh chased the tram and got it to stop.” They both got to save several lives.
Damaged cars lay scattered along the stretch, the drivers too shaken to react. As the tram rammed cars, they collided with other vehicles, creating a pile-up. Broken car body parts lay scattered on the road. Some cars lost wheels and bumpers, many had bonnets crushed. To add to the panic, smoke started coming out of the tram. Police arrived quickly and cleared out the area. A fire engine arrived at 10.15am and doused the flames. “It was a small fire, due to an electrical error, and was contained quickly,” said a fire official.
Calcutta Tramways Company MD Nilanjan Sandilya said an enquiry has been ordered. “The tram was in ‘parking’ from one lane to another. It was going out of the exit to return through the entry gate. Instead of taking the turn, it went ahead along the tracks. According to the driver, it was a mechanical fault. But if the probe finds him guilty, he will face exemplary punishment. He has been taken off duty for the day,” he said. CTC neither confirmed nor denied that the tram was driverless when the accident happened.