Perumon Tragedy

In the Peruman Train Tragedy, the Bangalore - Kanyakumari Island Express train derailed on the Peruman bridge over Ashtamudi Lake, near Perinadu, Kollam, Kerala, India and fell into the lake, killing 105 people on July 8, 1988.

Officials say the cause for the accident was a Tornado. But still the cause of accident remain a mystery. Ten bogie carriages of the Island Express fell into Ashtamudi Lake, and more than 200 persons were seriously injured.

The Peruman Train Tragedy is one of the largest train tragedies in the history of the Indian state of Kerala. Indian Railways constructed a new bridge across the lake. The old bridge remains in memorial of the Peruman Tragedy. On July 8, 2008 the government of Kerala and the relatives paid homage at the crash site.

When modern equipment and engineering techniques had failed to lift the bogies of the Island Express which had, in the tragic railway accident of July 8 last year, plunged into the Ashtamundi lake near Quilon, in a remarkable demonstration of the effectiveness of traditional technology and methods, the 'khalasis' of Kerala were able to lift the bogies from the depths of the lake with relative ease using the age-old tools of their trade

The 'bogies of death' still remain on the bank of the Ashtamundi lake haunting the memory of many a rail traveller who passes through the Perumon Bridge near Quilon from where nine bogies of the Island Express plunged into the lake on July 8 last year killing 106 passengers. It is a strange coincidence that only in the face of such a tragedy, should the potential of traditional technology for certain operations be demonstrated.

Nothing can restrain Raju Gregory from rushing help to people in distress. And this saved the lives of 16 people travelling in the ill-fated Island Express that fell off the Perumon Bridge on July 8, 1988.

The accident claimed the lives of 106 people. Mr. Gregory and his co-workers were engaged in unloading sand mined from near the area, when they saw the coaches of the train tumbling down. Diving skills intact, they entered the coaches in no time.

“I helped recover over 50 people, 16 of them alive, including a child. One of the survivors, who prefer to remain anonymous, sends me Rs.500 every month,” he says.