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Chinese student regains consciousness after 10-day coma
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16:57, December 12, 2008

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 School head sacked after carbon monoxide poisoning kills 11 in NW China
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The only survivor of a school dormitory carbon monoxide poisoning incident that left 11 dead in northwest China has come to after 10 days in a coma, doctors and her parents said.

"Our daughter regained consciousness on Thursday, but she is still rather weak and has some difficulties speaking," Cai Xingqiang told Xinhua by telephone on Friday.

The 11-year-old girl, Cai Maomao, suffered carbon monoxide poisoning with 11 other fourth-graders when they were using a charcoal heater to warm their dorm room on the night of Dec. 1 and early morning of Dec. 2. in the Duiziliang Middle School in Dingbian County, Shaanxi Province.

Eleven died in the hospital. Only Cai survived.

Doctors with Dingbian County Hospital said Cai could remember the names of her teachers and parents, but she still needed further treatment.

Police have said they believe a quilt fell on the stove during the night. It caught fire and ignited coal stored under a bed. As the coal smoldered, the students were poisoned by gases.

Jia Feng, deputy head of Dingbian County, was removed from the standing committee of the Dingbian county committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) shortly after the accident. Mao Xin, Dingbian Education Bureau director, was also sacked.

Police have detained Zhao Binghong, the head of the school, as well as Han Huilong, the school's deputy head and Song Xiaoyan, a teacher in charge of class business.

The family of each deceased student was given 200,000 yuan (29,050 U.S. dollars) in compensation, according to the publicity office of Dingbian County.

Source: Xinhua

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