Survivors recount nightmare
Updated: 2014-03-04 08:06
By Yang Wanli in Kunming (China Daily)
The events of Saturday night in Kunming are deeply engraved in the mind of Xie Qiming, who narrowly escaped death in the terrorist attack at the city's railway station.
The 48-year-old policeman intervened to stop the butchering of unarmed civilians, saving many from death and injury, but he was injured in the process.
Lying in a hospital bed, his head and nose marked by serious hacking wounds - one more than 20 centimeters long - Xie recounted his actions on the day he describes as a nightmare.
"I shot at them but fell to the ground during the fighting. After the shots, the terrorists turned their attention to the police and several of them surrounded me and stabbed me like crazy," he said. "There is no humanity in them."
Xie is from the Beijinglu Police Station, the closest to the attack, and four police officers from the station were the first to respond. He survived because he was wearing a bulletproof vest, which was damaged by the attackers.
When the officers arrived, the attackers were running out of the ticket hall, attacking people with long knives.
Xie and his colleagues tried to stop the attack, which is when Xie was injured. In addition to the deep cuts, his skull was fractured, and at the time of writing he was awaiting further surgery.
"A wave of fierce anger rose up in my mind, and we all forgot to think about the possible danger to us," said Hu Zhe, 23, a police officer trainee at the Beijinglu Police Station.
Having no firearm, he fought the terrorists with a wooden baton, but it got broken in the fighting. He sustained a 6-centimeter wound to his left eyebrow.
Wan Weiqing, a neurosurgeon from Beijing Tiantan Hospital, learned of the attack at 2 am on Sunday and took the first flight to Kunming, where he has been helping the victims.
He said that 71 victims are being treated at the Kunming First People's Hospital, most of them with severe multiple injuries.
"There is one victim whose rib, breastbone, lung and even heart were all injured in one chopping action. The attackers had obviously prepared and practiced for a long time," he said.
Zhou Hongmei, director of the Medical Reform Office at the Yunnan Health Department, said a team of medical experts including 29 doctors had arrived in Kunming by Monday night. They have been working at the five hospitals treating victims of the attack.
Chen Min, a Neurology Department nurse at Kunming First People's Hospital, said the department usually had seven nurses in the daytime and three at night. "But all the other nurses who were not on duty returned to the hospital voluntarily on Saturday night," she said.
In the past three days, none of them had more than 10 hours of rest.
"The crucial factor in saving lives in such incidents is treatment without delay," said Chai Wenzhao, associate director of the Intensive Care Unit in the Peking Union Medical College Hospital. Chai has participated in many emergency rescue efforts.
He said that the victims will need psychological counseling once their physical injuries have been dealt with, because the emotional impact of such an incident can be severe.
Four psychologists from Anding Hospital in Beijing have begun treating some of the victims.
Li Yingqing in Kunming contributed to this story.