Selfie craze leads to two brothers being killed by train


by Ranga Cathu

A grandmother yesterday related a heart-rending story of how an elder brother jumped before a moving train in a bid to save his younger sibling; both of them were run over by an express train.

"I shouted to the youngest grandson that a train was coming. Then he suddenly decided to dash across the rail track to the other side where his elder brother was, but the latter, too, came forward to save the younger sibling when both were hit by the locomotive," said their grandmother Prema Gunawardena sobbing inconsolably.

Victims of this double tragedy are brothers Sashi Madushan Ranaweera (24) and Theekshana Sakshan Ranaweera (12) of Anula Devi Mawatha, Wijayapura, Anuradhapura. They were the eldest and the youngest out of three sons of retired Corpral Prasanna Priyankara Ranaweera (49) and retired female soldier R. A. Bandara Menike.

Eldest victim Sashi, a past pupil of St Jaseph’s College, Anuradhapura had returned from Singapore after following a three-year-hotel management course on Sunday evening. His parents, accompanied by their other two sons, the grandmother and some other relatives, went to the airport. After visiting Galle Face they had been proceeding to an aunt’s residence at Kollupitiya when along the way near a place close to the beach the youngest Theekshana asked them to stop so that he could take some photos.

The 68-year-old grandmother said she was close to the two grandchildren when tragedy struck. "Because of the insistence of the youngest grandchild we stopped to take photos. At first, the two brothers took photos of each other close to the rail track. I, too, went near them and it was around 5.45 pm. Then I saw a train coming with its headlights on, but the sound of the waved drowned that of the train.

"In a flash the two children were lying on the ground. For sometime no one came forward to dispatch them to hospital. The eldest son’s severed leg I picked up and placed it in a tri-shaw. When I looked at the body of the youngest child the head was missing. The parents were in such a shock that they could only stare at their two children and weep", she said.

The youngest child’s head was found yesterday early morning near the Gampaha railway station. It had got stuck in the train.

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