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Kolkata tourist dies after jumping off moving toy train in Darjeeling

DARJEELING : 5 A tourist from Kolkata was killed on Monday afternoon when she jumped off the Darjeeling toy train near Chunbhatti in Kurseong sub-division. Three others not related to the deceased, who also jumped off the moving train, sustained minor injuries and were discharged after treatment at the Tindharay Railway Hospital. Moli Paul (51) died on the spot when she jumped off the 52552 Down, Jungle Safari toy train that the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway operates from Siliguri Junction to Ghayabari station. The incident occurred around 2.50pm near Chunbhatti station, some 32km south of Kurseong. According to police sources, Paul died instantly as her head struck a tin house just off the tracks. When asked as to what might made her jump, one of the sources said, “It appears the passengers were told the brakes of the toy train had failed. This prompted some of them, including Paul, to jump in fear. The impact of the fall proved fatal and the lady was killed on the spot.” 

However, the police are yet to ascertain whether the brakes had failed or the train wheels had jumped track as is common with the toy train. But DHR officials dismissed both possibilities, with chief public relations officer S Lahiri saying, “We have started an inquiry. Brake failure can be ruled out because the train eventually came to a halt. Anyway, we want to make it clear that the train did not derail nor was there any brake failure.” The deceased’s husband, Jauhar Paul, and brother-in-law were travelling with her when the mishap occurred. “We came to Siliguri on January 22 to visit my brother,” said Jauhar. “We took the jungle safari toy train ride yesterday as we wanted to enjoy the scenery.” The diesel-engine train was carrying 80 passengers back to Siliguri Junction from Ghayabari in three coaches. Regarding the possibility of compensation for the victim’s family, Lahiri said, “It is really sad that a person has died. We will decide about it (compensation) once the inquiry report is released.”

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