On Saturday, 3 March at 8.57 pm two trains TLK ‘Brzechwa’ from Przemyśl to Eastern Warsaw and Interregio ‘Jan Matejko’ of the connection Eastern Warsaw – Cracow crashed into each other at the junction from the Central Trunk Line. The tragedy happened in the area of Chałupki village near Szczecin (Silesia district). On Sunday after the catastrophe in all parishes in Poland, the faithful were praying in the intention of the accident victims. Priests arrived at hospital departments. In some hospitals information about Holy Masses for the intention of the accident victims was given. They were attended by the families of the casualties, hospital patients and inhabitants of towns and neighbouring areas.
Mrs Danuta came to the Holy Mass from Tomasz Mazowiecki, in the intention of her father who had suffered from the catastrophe. - Luckily his state is stable. It is a great luck that he has survived. We treat it in the category of the second life. How to thank God for that? - she asks with tears in her eyes. The victim of the accident tells us about a loud bang at the moment of the crash of the trains. He sill has a picture of a travelling companion in his eyes who fell out through a window. He does not know what happened to this passenger. – This horrible view is still standing in front of my eyes. Injured people, pinched by seats, fragments of bodies on the train and outside it. Hoot of sirens, firemen, medical service, cry and voices shouting for help...It happened so quickly that it is very difficult to explain or understand it. I think that it will last in us very long... – says Bolesław. – New life... – says Adam Komoniewski from Cracow, who was in a wagon before the last one. – We opened a window and saw a crashed wagon. Fire brigade arrived very quickly. The nearby inhabitants drove us to schools. The mutual help and logical action are really great. We were only injured, our wagon was outside an embankment, and the tragedy omitted us....I found the view of a broken wagon very shocking. When departing, we heard moans and shouts of the injured. it is difficult to collect our thoughts but surely it is new life.... – he emphasizes.
16 mortal casualties and 57 injured people – it is a balance of the catastrophe. The casualties were transported to hospitals, among the others, in Częstochowa, Zawiercie, Myszków, Sosnowiec , Dąbrowa Górnicza and Jedrzejów. The other passengers were placed in schools in villages of Szczekociny and Goleniów. In the train from Przemyśl to Warsaw there were 250 people and in the train of Regional Transports Warsaw – Cracow – about 120 people. According to the information of CIR, about 450 firemen were working in the place of the catastrophe, from 40 fire brigade units, 100 functionaries of police. 35 ambulances and 2 rescue helicopters were participating in the action. The area of the catastrophe changed into a field hospital. The first fire brigade unit reached to the place of the catastrophe at 9.05 at night. The inhabitants of nearby villages joined the rescue action. They were breaking windows in order to help the casualties leave the smashed wagons, they were also bringing warm thing to the catastrophe place. The crash of the trains at Szczekociny is the most serious railway catastrophe, as far as the number of casualties is concerned, in the last century.