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Tragedy in Santa Fe: The terrible first-person account of a passenger who called for help with a lighter


Highlights: Alan Achabal (26) was traveling on the bus that collided with a truck on National Route 34. Five people died in the accident. "I cry and thank God for coming out unscathed," he said. "My stomach churns, I feel like vomiting, my back and back hurt," he says. "In the middle of hell, Alan managed to help, along with a man, a lady who had her arm injured. They took her out of the window from the outside," says Alan.

Alan Achabal (26) was traveling on the bus that collided with a truck on National Route 34. Five people died in the accident. "I cry and thank God for coming out unscathed," he said.

"When I opened my eyes I didn't understand anything that was going on. I woke up to the noise of the accident. He had a bump on his face. I hit my nose against the seat in front, which was tilted back, and bent my wrist trying to avoid the impact. The microphone was tilted sideways. It looked like it was going to capsize. In the background, I heard the desperate cries of the other passengers. Everything was dark, you couldn't see anything," recalls Alan Achabal (26), his voice breaking, in dialogue with Clarín.

He is one of the passengers who survived the tragedy on National Route 34, at kilometer 116, between the towns of Casas and Las Bandurrias, in Santa Fe, in which 5 people lost their lives. Before the nightmare, Alan had been visiting his aunt's house in Núñez, Santiago del Estero. It was for 10 days to celebrate her birthday with her. But the early morning of the 26th stained those memories gray.

"Two days have passed and I feel like it all happened this morning. My stomach churns, I feel like vomiting, my back and back hurt. I cry and thank God for coming out unscathed. I am considering seeking psychological help because I was very unwell," he describes.

A bus and a truck collided at kilometer 116 of National Route 34 in Santa Fe.

Alan boarded the Torres Hermanos bus on Friday at 8 a.m. He was scheduled to arrive at his destination, San Justo, Buenos Aires, at 7 a.m. the next day. He was traveling on the right side, in a front seat upstairs, very close to the coffee maker. He didn't have a cell phone.

The impact of the brutal crash interrupted his sleep and confronted him with a harsh reality that still disturbs him. "There was the sound of a sparkle, as if the microphone was about to catch fire. In the midst of the commotion, I took the emergency hammer to break the window and escape around, but the collective bent over and I failed in the attempt. I went down the stairs as best I could, barefoot, and I found a disaster," he says with trembling intonation.

"My face was burning. In the middle of the gloom, he didn't know if he was bleeding. I kicked in the door and it opened. I ran to the side of the road to call for help. I took a lighter from my pocket to signal passing vehicles. When he stopped a truck, I asked him to call the fire brigade and turn the bus to see what had happened so I could help the trapped people. In that instant, I discovered the worst," he says and stops his story for a few seconds.

Alan called for help by waving a lighter at passing vehicles in the dark.

It is that his body is tense with every detail he tries to testify. He encountered terrifying scenes that still stun him. "I saw that the driver had passed away and that a person behind him was very unwell. I heard dying voices, a person had blood coming from his mouth, and there was a woman with her arm cut by a plate. It was full of scrap metal. I still smell blood and flesh in my nose. I can't get it out," he anguishes.

Alan didn't understand what they had collided with. But the driver of the vehicle that stopped to assist him told him that 1,000 meters away there was a truck outside the shoulder. "That's when I realized what had happened," he confesses with a lump in his throat.

Moments of anguish

In the middle of hell, Alan managed to help, along with a man, a lady who had her arm injured. They took her out of the window from the outside.

Alan with other passengers at the Cañada Rosquín Volunteer Fire Station.

"My sister, baby," the woman repeated incessantly. He was asking for his companion. "Rest assured, you're putting your bags down, that's fine," Alan replied. "But why doesn't he come," insisted the lady."

And Alan lied to her again to reassure her. "I sat on the grass with her and squeezed her hand which was getting colder and colder. I offered him my jacket to cover his arm because he was losing a lot of blood. He was missing a piece of his arm, you could see his bones and tendons," he recalls with pain.

He remained at the crash site until 1 a.m. It was 120 minutes of anguish and uncertainty. "I had to wait many hours until they lent me a cell phone. At 7 a.m. I was able to talk to my mother. I told her that the bus broke down and that we were late so as not to worry her," he says.

Support and containment

Alan was one of the first four victims to arrive at the Cañada Rosquín Volunteer Fire Station. "We were transferred by Duilio Sanabria, the main officer of the corps, in a van. There they gave us blankets and clothes to protect us from the cold, we could bathe and eat gnocchi. They also lent us a computer and invited us to play cards to abstract us for a while from everything we had experienced.

But Alan remained in the barracks until the last moment. As some bags had been left in the collective, the Justice authorized the victims to go to rescue them. But the moment Alan stepped off the bus that would take him back to Buenos Aires, his mind relived the tragedy. "A truck just passed by the side of the shoulder and I started to perspire. My stomach churned, my blood pressure dropped, and my heart was pounding. I went 32 hours without sleep. I don't want to travel by bus anymore," he says.

At the barracks they gave him a painkiller and his parents traveled 430 km to go look for him. He met them again on Sunday at 6 a.m. "I hugged them and started crying. I asked them for forgiveness and promised them that I would never leave them alone again," he says.

"I lost my belongings because what little I had was in my bag," she says. He lives with his parents and has two older brothers and two younger brothers. He is a bricklayer's and barber's assistant, makes changas, and has knowledge of refrigeration and air conditioning installation.

Alan is still afraid. "It can't be replenished. I lend him my ear to spit out all the anguish he has because he has not yet received psychological attention. Today we wake up 10% better. As a mother, I try to support him, but he needs professional help," Alejandra Oliva tells Clarín.

How is the research going?

The cause is qualified as "culpable homicide aggravated by the plurality of fatal victims in ideal competition with minor, serious and very serious culpable injuries, in the framework of a traffic accident". His research is in charge of Carlos Zoppegni, head of UFI 150 in San Jorge.

The Prosecutor's Office confirmed to Clarín that, according to preliminary reports and the lifting of traces, the accident occurred because one of the two vehicles invaded the opposite lane. Also, that the fatalities were traveling on the left side, behind the driver, on the floor below.

Also, as Clarín learned from sources of the investigation, noblood alcohol dosage was found in either of the two drivers. "Although this would only be relevant if it had had an impact on the mechanics of the event," says Zoppegni. According to an interim report, the truck was not going more than 80 km / h (due to its weight) and the bus no more than 110.

At the moment, the driver of the truck, L. J. Ramos (37), is not charged. He remains at liberty and there are no procedural risks. The seizure of his driver's license and the truck was ordered in order to carry out a deeper accident expertise, with details that make the deformation of the vehicle in the impact, and also to see what involvement the insurance companies have.

"We are evaluating how to proceed with the procedural measures. I await reports from telephone companies to verify if there was use of the phone at the time of the accident. We prioritized victims and complications with their personal effects," Zoppegni says.


See also

Tragedy on a Santa Fe route: they point to the driver of the truck for the collision with a bus that left 5 dead

The desperate request of the only survivor of the accident in which four Boca fans died: "It's not fair something like that"

Source: clarin

All life articles on 2023-05-29

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