Damian and Pathum of DeeZone survive car crash in Bangalore

Saturday, 11 January 2014 10:46 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

DeeZone, a commercial band comprising of five musicians from Sri Lanka, arrived at the airport in Bangalore on 16 December, expecting to have a full day to refresh before their performance in Bangalore on 18 December. The band members had split into two vehicles and were headed to their accommodation on the Hyderabad-Bangalore highway. Damian Wikkramatillake, Georgy De Silva and Pathum Fernando were travelling in one of the vehicles. Since it was the later part of the night, the band members had fallen asleep en-route to their accommodation. Damian and Georgy were in the back seat while Pathum had taken seat on the front, opposite to the driver’s seat. A few minutes into their journey Damian was woken up by the crashing sound of the vehicle. The vehicle they were travelling in, which was averaging 130 kmph, had hit a massive truck. Damian and Pathum sustained injuries in the accident. Thankfully, the duo had a speedy recovery at the hands of medics and then the ICU staff in two hospitals in India and returned safely to Sri Lanka. Here, Damian shares his horrific experience with the Weekend FT: DeeZone was booked for a show in Bangalore on 18 December. We took the flight to India on the 16th night. We had to travel about an hour on the highway to Bangalore. The band was split in two vehicles. Georgy and I were in the back while Pathum sat in front with the driver in our vehicle. Since we were all very tired, we had fallen asleep. All I remember is waking up in shock to a huge bomb going off kind of sound, and excruciating pain on the right side of my chest and I couldn’t breathe. Next thing I remember was waking up on the floor between the seats. I had passed out for a moment. When I woke up there were people gathered around trying to get us out. Pathum had bashed his head on the wind screen and was bleeding. I was in pain and something wasn’t right! It felt like stabs on the right side of my chest. Georgy was unhurt even though he was with us. So he was the only one who ran around and got things done. They took me out and put me and Pathum in the ambulance together with Georgy, while the other two members watched and went back to sleep as they were in another vehicle. The Ambulance took us to a Government Hospital in the area. I wanted a transfer to another Hospital and with all the pain we ended up in the ICU at the Christian Medical Center. At last they could do something solid to determine what was going on with us. The two X-rays didn’t show anything and I was declared normal. But the pain stayed and I had to put an effort to breathe. We got all our injections and morphine and all temporary treatment needed. By evening as the pain killers wore off I had a heart attack. The muscles went into spasm, the pain was unbearable, it squeezed my lungs and I couldn’t breathe. I was trying to tell them that I couldn’t breathe and they thought I was overreacting. Then Georgy ran around again, shouted and then a doctor had said: “Don’t let him die! Do something!”  That’s when they all came and got me going. My heart rate had dropped to 39 and those minutes were like a movie in slow motion. After they stabilised me they transferred both me and Pathum to a hospital in Bangalore. I am glad we survived that ambulance ride to Bangalore. Those guys didn’t care in what condition we were in. They just hammered all the way. We held on for dear life as we were not even strapped in and Kiran, the medic who was with us, said: “Don’t worry, high tech ambulance.” I was to be on an oxygen supply all the way and when I inquired, the dude said: “Ha? Oxygen! Yes, yes, you wait” and pulled out a cylinder from under the seat and stuck a mask on me. That actually felt better. When we finally reached Bangalore, we were met by Nigel who was with us till the end, and of course Wije – the man who was appointed by them to take care of me. But if not for Georgy, who stayed up with us morning noon and night while the other two members had vanished, we would have probably had a worse story here. God saved all of us. I am very thankful for that!