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Why did they have to die?; Disaster - Surviving Paddingtom BBC1, 10.50pm.

ONE year ago, 31 people were killed and more than 400 injured as two trains crashed outside Paddington Station.

After one of the world's worst transport disasters, the survivors look back at the events of that dramatic day and the devastating effects it had on their lives.

Keith Stiles and Colin Field were both on the First Great Western Express train heading for London.

Although they were regular commuters on the line from Didcot and Reading, they did not know each other until fate stepped in and brought them together through the most traumatic of circumstances.

When the train crashed the two men found themselves face-to-face with the fireball that swept through their carriage. Both sustained extensive burns and their families were told the harrowing news that they might not survive their injuries. But they did.

And in spite of the horrific circumstances which brought Keith and Colin together, they have become firm friends to this day.

This sensitive and emotional programme follows them through their painful steps towards recovery.

"Having the dressings removed was a near as I could imagine to being skinned alive because the actual dressings just stuck to what was effectively raw flesh," says Colin.

"So, for me, memories of the treatment are probably worse than the memories of the accident itself."

Unsurprisingly, Colin and Keith still won't get back on a train as they are not convinced that the safety standards in the British railway system have improved since that day.

A year after the crash, Michael Adams is still in hospital and can only get out of bed with the aid of others.

During the train crash he sustained damaged nerves and such is the extent of his injury that no-one knows how much he will recover, if at all.

But despite the odds, Michael's goal is to walk again and he is determined that some good should come of the horrific accident.

"These 31 people who died, what did they die for?" he asks.

"They're laying there in their graves, and I was almost number 32.

"I sure as hell would have hoped that my death would have meant something, that it would have meant a change, that people would have been able to travel that line without the fear of that happening to them."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 30, 2000
Words:382
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