'Dead' Indian awakens before autopsy, asks for water

According to a doctor on the pilgrimage, few checks were carried out to see if victims were alive and might have been saved.

'Dead' Indian awakens before autopsy, asks for water

Doctors preparing to conduct a post-mortem examination on an Indian pilgrim crushed in the stampede that killed 150 on Sunday, were stunned when the 'dead man' sat up and asked for a glass of water.

Mange Ram, 19, was presumed dead when he was taken to the morgue along with scores of other bodies after rumours of a landslide caused mass panic during a Hindu festival in the mountainous north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

Hundreds of people — mostly women and children — were trampled to the ground and many others fell down a steep slope as the panicking crowd tried to flee to safety after the collapse of iron railings.

Ram woke in the morgue at the Anandpur Sahib Civil Hospital, surrounded by the dead bodies of other pilgrims, many of whom had died from suffocation during the tragedy which occurred on a steep path leading to the Naina Devi shrine on a hilltop in the Himalayas.

"When I woke up, I was in the middle of a row of bodies waiting for a post-mortem," Mr Ram told The Times of India.

"My throat was parched and I asked for water. Towering over me the doctors and nursing staff looked dazed. They must have been surprised to see a dead man come alive like that." he said.

After the tragedy, dozens of bodies wrapped in blankets littered the path to the temple before police were able to take them in a cable car to nearby morgues to be identified.

According to a doctor on the pilgrimage, few checks were carried out to see if victims were alive and might have been saved.

"People were dumped quite haphazardly into trucks without following any procedure or checking if they were alive," Dr Sat Pal Aggarwal told The Times of India.

After the bodies had been cleared from the hilltop, the pilgrimage continued as thousands of worshippers celebrated Shravan Navratas, a nine-day festival in honour of the Hindu goddess Shakti, or Divine Mother.

Stampedes are common during religious festivals in India. Six people were trampled in the town of Puri in July, and 257 Hindus were crushed during a stampede near a temple in the western state of Maharashtra.

Agencies

Last Mod: 08 Ağustos 2008, 15:19
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