Happy mood turned to terror as the lights went out on the 5.35

Jon Stace was looking forward to a night celebrating his friend's birthday and a Sunday at home with his family.

Jon Stace was looking forward to a night celebrating his friend's birthday and a Sunday at home with his family.

The 21-year-old deliberately missed an earlier connection so he could join three friends on the way to the party near Newbury but minutes after leaving Reading station their cheerful mood turned to terror as the train left the tracks at more than 100 miles per hour and passengers were plunged into darkness.

"We had only just got on to the train, we each had a drink and were just opening them. My friend was sitting across from me in the window seat and his drink spilt on to him. There was a judder and then the lights [went] out. The next thing we knew the train was on its side and rolling over ... I could feel bodies going on top of me and being thrown different places.

"I felt my arm go through the window because the glass wasn't there and felt my head go through as well. I managed to pull my head back in but my arm got dragged along. It was terrifying. I literally thought that was the end and I was going to die."

Mr Stace, a graphic design student at the London College of Communications, suffered severe lacerations to his arm and cuts to his back and hand. His friends were discharged with minor injuries.

"When it happened it was pitch black.Fortunately some people found some glow sticks and some of them used their mobile phones as torches.''

Mr Stace and his friends went back into the mangled carriage twice to help survivors until emergency services arrived. "People were screaming when [it] first happened but fortunately most people did quite a good job of calming down.''

Ian Horler, 37, was waiting at home in Newbury for his girlfriend Sharmin Bacchus, also 37, to arrive back from London when he heard there had been a train crash. Unable to contact her, he spent hours frantically searching makeshift treatment centres before driving to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading where he was told 90 minutes later that she was in resuscitation.

Ms Bacchus, who was apprehensive about travelling by train and had not been on one for seven years, suffered a broken pelvis, cracked ribs, cuts and bruises. She was trapped inside the carriage and had to be released by emergency services.

Mr Horler said: "I was told she was in the resuscitation unit. My thoughts were she wasn't going to make it and I started to phone her family. It was very traumatic."

Eventually a nurse told Mr Horler that his girlfriend was in a "stable" condition. "How she got out without any head or spinal injuries is amazing," he said. "It looks as if she's gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson."

Brian Knapman, 64, and his wife Maggie, 56, were travelling home to Torquay in the first-class carriage at the front of the train after celebrating his brother's 60th birthday in London.

"All of a sudden we heard a crash and the carriage went on to its side," he said as he was discharged from hospital.

"My arm was being scraped along the tracks and my clothes were ripped and then the train slid to a halt.

"I immediately checked to see how my wife was, but she was coughing and trying to catch her breath. She was the most seriously injured person in the carriage, with cuts all over her chest and face, a broken hand and a suspected broken jaw,"

Paramedics clambered into the stricken carriage and started to treat the injured. They could not fit a stretcher into the confined space, so they used a table that had been torn from the floor as a makeshift stretcher to carry Maggie Knapman from the wreckage. She was taken to Royal Berkshire Hospital where her condition was yesterday described as "serious but stable".

In total, 61 injured were taken to Royal Berkshire Hospital, about five miles from the crash scene. By midday yesterday 47 had been discharged. Four were in a serious but stable condition. One man, who had been in intensive care with life threatening multiple injuries, died last night.

Ann Sheen, Chief Executive of the hospital Trust said staff had undergone a major incident training exercise just two weeks ago. More than 20 extra staff were called in to help and three operating theatres freed up to treat the injured. She said staff had been traumatised by what they had seen and that counselling would be offered.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?