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Mom recounts horror of seeing baby hit by train

The video that captured a baby in a stroller rolling in front of an oncoming train still amazes, especially because the child suffered only scratches. Speaking out for the first time, the baby’s mother, Shweta Verma, 29, said, “I believe he is destined to do something great in his life.”
/ Source: TODAY contributor

The surveillance video makes your blood run cold. A young mother on a train platform lets go of the stroller holding her 6-month-old son for an instant. As if nudged by an unseen hand, the stroller rolls toward the tracks a few feet away. As the woman scrambles desperately to recapture her precious cargo, the stroller topples off the platform and lands upside-down on the tracks — just as a train rolls into the station at 20 mph.

The mother freezes for an instant, her legs bent, upper body hunched forward, arm stretched out clutching at empty air as the train rolls over her baby.

"There was this moment I thought I should jump," Shweta Verma, the 29-year-old mother, told TODAY's Matt Lauer from Australia in a pretaped interview that aired Monday. But instead of making that suicidal move, Verma said, "I just thought for a second that I should have a look — what has happened to him. I just wanted to have a look, how is he."

As for her thoughts, "I was blank."

Certain doom
The incident, which has been widely viewed on YouTube, happened in Melbourne, Australia, on Thursday, Oct. 15. But Verma, a dentist who speaks with the accent of her native India, has just now told her story to the general media. Because her son, Saurish, came through with nothing but a few scratches — miraculously, many say — the interviews have been happy, even as Verma continues to relive the horror of the moment the stroller rolled off the platform and under the rumbling train.

Verma told Lauer it was a normal day for her, catching the train with her only child. A doting mother, she had made sure that her pride and joy was securely buckled in his stroller and that its brake was set as she waited for the train.

Just as the train was pulling into the station, she released the brake to prepare to board. Then she let go of the handle for just a moment to adjust her clothing, and in that moment, the stroller began to roll to what looked like certain doom.

"And it was just maybe just for a fraction of second, I just took my hands off from the pram, and it happened so quickly, in the blink of an eye. Before I could get hold of the pram handle, it was off the platform," Verma recounted.

‘Complete shock’
The train engineer saw the stroller fall in front of his locomotive and quickly applied the brakes, but the commuter train still rolled another 100 feet before finally screeching to a halt.

"I was [in] complete shock," Verma told Lauer. "As soon as the train stopped, I ran toward the platform where it stopped, and there was this young guy who came and offered to help. And he was going to get down off the platform and then, I told him that I want to come along."

The young man was Aaron Dryden, an 18-year-old student. Together, he and Verma went along the tracks to the head of the train to look underneath for Saurish.

That's when Verma heard the sweetest music a mother could ever hope to hear.

"We both went down under the train on the tracks, and as we were approaching toward the pram, I could hear him crying," she said. "I was relieved and feeling that my boy is alive. My son is alive. And he's crying. And to my knowledge, crying is good."

The stroller, which lost its wheels in the collision, was lying on its side about 15 feet behind the front of the train. Reassured by the crying, Verma looked for signs of damage, and again found reason to breathe again.

"The second thing I noticed is there was no bleeding or blood of any sort," she said. "That was more better, and then my only concern after this, that he shouldn't have suffered any internal injuries."

Scratches and a bumpDryden tried to extricate Saurish from the stroller, but he couldn't figure out the safety harness. Verma finally had to join him under the train to unhook it and fold her baby in her arms.

The baby was hustled into an ambulance and taken to a hospital. Other than some scratches on his cheek and a bump or two, he was undamaged and was sent home with his grateful mother. Authorities credited the stroller's safety harness with saving him from serious injury or death.

After the accident, Verma said she had nightmares about it.

"In starting, the three or four days were very very, difficult, very stressful," she told Lauer. "I was getting hard time to sleep, but my husband was there all the time supporting me and providing me comfort, and my friends were there. They made a point not to leave me alone, and not to think of this, and thanks to all of them."

‘That is why God is there’Lauer asked Verma if she blames herself for what happened.

"Yes, sort of," she said, adding that everyone has told her she did everything right. "I make sure the brakes are on and the safety harness is intact; well properly tucked in, and he was like wrapped and everything was in place. What I was supposed to do I was done my part, and it was just for the fraction of second when you just ... you know, like any other person when the train comes, you're just about to get ready to hop on the train. That was a moment, it just happened, it just happened, I still don't believe that. It all happened so fast, so quickly."

"You have to think that there's a reason that it ended this way, that there must be some reason that Saurish was saved," Lauer observed.

"Yes, I believe, I believe," Verma said. "He is destined to do something, something good, something great in his life. That is why God is there, and I'm thanks to him again and again.

"Now I don't let him out of my sight," she added.