Howrah resident Helaram Mallik travelled 235km to Balasore to recover his son alive from a makeshift morgue where he was kept with the bodies of those killed in the triple train accident.
After pulling out his 24-year-old son Biswajit from the morgue at Bahanaga High School, Helaram rushed to Balasore Hospital before bringing him to Kolkata's SSKM Hospital.
Biswajit, who suffered multiple bone injuries in his limbs, underwent two surgeries at the trauma care unit of SSKM Hospital in Kolkata.
"I saw the news on TV and then realised that I must call Biswajit to find out if he was okay. He did not initially pick up the calls and then when he did, I could hear a feeble voice on the other side," Helaram, who runs a kirana shop in Howrah, said.
On the same night (June 2), he and his brother-in-law Dipak Das left for Balasore in an ambulance.
"We could not find him as calls to his mobile went unanswered. We visited different hospitals but Biswajit was nowhere. We then went to a makeshift morgue at Bahanaga High School but were denied entry initially. Suddenly, there was an altercation among a few people followed by a commotion. Suddenly, I spotted a hand and knew it was my son's. He was alive," Helaram said.
Without wasting a moment, Helaram took his 'almost unresponsive' son to Balasore Hospital where he was administered a few injections and then referred to Cuttack Medical College and Hospital.
"He had multiple fractures on his limbs and could not utter anything. I signed a bond there and brought Biswajit to SSKM Hospital's trauma care unit on Monday morning," he said.
Asked why people mistook him as 'dead', a doctor at SSKM Hospital said Biswajit might have gone into 'suspended animation' -- a state of slowing down biological functions -- leading people to think that he was dead.
On Monday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited Biswajit and those injured undergoing treatment at SSKM Hospital.
"I would like to thank God for giving back my son. I can't explain what was going in my mind when I heard Biswajit was dead. I was not ready to accept that he was no more and kept on looking for him," Helaram said.
"I feel I got a new life. I owe it to my father. He is God to me and because of him, I have got back this life again. Baba is everything to me," Biswajit told PTI from the hospital bed.
Coromandel Express, in which Biswajit was travelling, crashed into a stationary goods train, derailing most of its coaches at 7 pm on June 2.
A few coaches of Coromandel toppled over the last few coaches of the Bengaluru-Howrah Express which was passing by at the same time. A goods train was also involved in the crash.
Investigators are looking into possible human error, signal failure, and other possible causes behind the three-train crash.
In all, 278 people have died and over 1,200 injured in the tragic incident.