Train accident kills 22; over 100 hospitalised
Updated: 2011-07-24 00:24
WENZHOU - At least 22 people were confirmed dead with six injured passengers were reported dead in hospital after two coaches of a bullet train fell off a bridge in East China's Zhejiang province late Saturday, local police, firefighters and hospital sources said.
More than 100 people had been sent to hospital, rescuers said.
The train numbered D3115, running from the provincial capital Hangzhou to the southeastern city of Fuzhou, derailed at the section of Shuangyu town in Wenzhou city of Zhejiang.
The accident occurred after the train was hit by lightning and lost drive, and then rear-ended by another bullet train, the official microblog of Hangzhou TV "News 60 minutes" program quoted a local railway official as saying.
The Ministry of Railways confirmed at 11:20 pm Saturday that the D301 train from Beijing to Fuzhou rear-ended the D3115 train at 8:50 pm. The first four coaches of D301 and the 15th and 16th coaches of D3115 went off the line.
A witness said a coach of D3115 plunged onto the ground vertically while another coach was hanging on the bridge with one side seriously deformed. The bridge is about 20 to 30 meters above the ground.
"Rescuers have dragged many passengers out of the coach falling on the ground," a witness told Xinhua over phone.
Passengers on the train were crying for help via microblog right after the accident.
A microblogger named "Sam Is Me" wrote on weibo.com that he was stranded in a coach of D3115 on the railway in Wenzhou city. "Please help me!...Help!!! Help!!!" he wrote at 9 pm. "I'm so scared."
Witnesses said the scene was crowded by people, which complicated the rescue work.
Passengers themselves joined in the rescue work. Photos from the scene showed that people were trying to take injured passengers out of a coach.
"Sam Is Me" reported safe at 11:20 pm. "I'm touched by the volunteers who accompanied me all the way down the hill...I saw hundreds of ambulances in the town. I think it is a big accident. I hope the passengers at the scene are safe...Bless for the injured," he wrote on his microblog.
At the No 1 Hospital attached to the Wenzhou Medical College, a man about 40 years old told Xinhua he was a passenger from the 16th coach. There were more than 60 passengers on board.
"We were trapped in the coach for more than one hour before five of us broke the window and crawled out," said the man, who did not reveal his name.
The five passengers also dragged an old man and a woman out of the coach, but the old man died half an hour later.
A woman surnamed Zhou in Lucheng District People's Hospital in Wenzhou said she was in the 11th coach. She and her whole family, four adults and two children, got on the train from Hangzhou.
"At around 8 pm at the Yongjia station, the train was supposed to stop for one minute, but actually stayed for 25 minutes," Zhou told Xinhua.
"After it moved, we heard a 'bang', and it felt like an earthquake. I immediately held my five-year-old kid to my arms," she said.
Zhou got a bruise in her arms and her kid was injured on the head. Luckily, all of her family members survived.
Another woman at the same hospital said lightning was very heavy, and the train just stopped there for a long time.
"When the train moved again, all lights were off all of sudden, and I seemed to be shocked by electricity before hearing a huge bang."
Gu Xianwei, a native from Guizhou Province, said he was driving by when the accident occurred.
"Hearing a huge bang, I saw two trains crashed, and then one coach fell down," Gu said.
Gu rushed to the scene later and rescued many people out of the coaches with other rescuers.
Liu Hongtao, a host with Voice of Strait, a radio in Fuzhou, was on board the 4th coach of D301 when the collision occurred.
"The train suddenly shook violently, casting luggage all around," he said while being interviewed by China Central Television (CCTV) at 11 pm. "Passengers cried for help but no crew responded."
A passenger failed to smash the window with a fire extinguisher but managed to open a crack. Other passengers rushed to crawl out of the train through the crack, he added.
"One coach perched like a chimney and another was broken in half," Chen Yujie, a host with Zhejiang traffic radio, who was at the scene, described the accident to CCTV.
Both Liu and Chen said they constantly saw lightning.
Zhejiang provincial department of health organized four medical teams heading to the scene, consisted of medical staff from Zhejiang No 1 Hospital, Zhejiang No 2 Hospital, Zhejiang Provincial People's Hospital and Taizhou Hospital.
The department also required hospital staff near the site to rush to the scene for rescue work.
The blood center of Zhejiang province is "fully prepared to guarantee rescue blood." The center was reported to have transported blood to Wenzhou city from Lishu city, according to the FM93.0 radio of Zhejiang.
The radio said hospital blood was in tight supply and called on Wenzhou residents to donate blood to the city's blood center.
More than 200 residents arrived at Wenzhou blood center. Pictures on weibo.com showed the long queue included teenagers and young people in their twenties. People waited silently in the night for blood donation.
Thousands of netizens said they were touched by the scene in the blood center at the bloody night.
Right after the accident, Minister of Railways Sheng Guangzu rushed to the ministry's control and command center in Beijing to guide the rescue. The latest news was that Sheng was heading for the accident scene.
Sheng also called for immediate and greatest efforts from the rescue teams to save the injured passengers, and he required an in-depth investigation in the accident.
Hu Yadong and Lu Chunfang, deputy ministers of railways, were also hurriedly going to the scene for rescue work.
Two coaches of a bullet train fell off a bridge after derailing in East China's Zhejiang province. [Photo/Xinhua]
Photos uploaded to Weibo, China's micro blog, show the site of a derailed bullet train in Zhejiang province, July 23, 2011.[Photo by weibo.com/1670890060]
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