Life is so fragile. None of us knows when the end is nearing. On October 23 (Wednesday) Rajendranath Panigrahi, an Indian athlete, was killed in a train mishap in Bambalapitiya. The athlete was attempting to take a selfie of himself against the backdrop of the sea at the time of his death.
63-year-old Panigrahi arrived in Sri Lanka on October 19 to participate in the Inter-mercantile Athletics Championships along with 38 other athletes from India. The Championship was held at the Sugathadasa Stadium from October 20-22. These Indian athletes were scheduled to leave Sri Lanka on October 23. On the way to the airport the bus they were travelling in stopped at Bambalapitya. Some of the athletes, including Panigrahi, disembarked from the bus as they wanted to buy packets of green tea from the shops nearby.
Panigrahi headed towards the rail tracks with the intention of taking a picture of himself. When attempting to take a selfie, without his knowledge, a train was headed in his direction. The train knocked into him, pushing him away. Panigrahi died on the spot. Thilini Munasinghe, a friend of Panigrahi’s son, who accompanied the group, said that although the driver had tooted the horn, Panigrahi didn’t hear the sound and was unable to move away on time.
Panigrahi was from Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh, India. He leaves behind his wife and three sons. According to Munasinghe, Panigrahi was a very nice, friendly and fit gentleman. He took part in the senior events and took part in the 55+ age group category.
Panigrahi headed towards the rail tracks with the intention of taking a picture of himself. When attempting to take a selfie, without his knowledge, a train was headed in his direction
The Daily Mirror spoke to Dharmapaal Sharma, Senior Team Manager and a gifted athlete himself, who stayed behind in order to conduct the formalities necessary in connection with the Panigrahi’s death. Sharma said that Sri Lanka and India invite each other when these countries take turns hosting this championship. He further explained that the participants who contested the Inter-mercantile Athletics Championships were from different parts of India and weren’t from just one state.
The body of the athlete was taken to the Colombo National Hospital where the postmortem was conducted by Dr. Sriyantha Amararathne, Consultant Judicial Medical Officer. “At the first instance I thought that the cause of death was due to a head injury. But upon further inspection, it was concluded that the cause was due to multiple injuries in the head, neck, thorax, abdomen and the limb due to blunt force trauma. This injury pattern is consistent with the railway accidents,” explained Dr. Amararathne.
The remains of the deceased will be taken to Visakhapatnam on October 26 (Thursday).