Funeral held for mainland tourists who died in Ali Mountain train accident

09:21, May 06, 2011      

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People offers incense during a condolence ceremony in Chiayi of Taiwan, southeast China, May 5, 2011. Hundreds of people attended the condolence ceremony here on Thursday for the victims killed in the train accident of April 27. (Xinhua/Gong Bing)

A public funeral was held on Thursday in Chiayi City of Taiwan for five mainland tourists killed after a train overturned on its descent down Ali Mountain on April 27.

At a mourning hall of Chiayi funeral parlor, portraits of the five victims, all female tourists, were laid in front of bunches of flowers with more than 10 Buddhist monks from Taiwan's largest Buddhist temple chanting prayers.

Family members from the mainland prayed for the five victims on bended knees with hundreds of others from the mainland and Taiwan also present at the mourning ceremony.

A tour train carrying more than 200 mainland passengers was derailed by falling tree on April 27 noon. Four of the trains carriages overturned, resulting in five deaths and more than 100 injured, most of whom were mainland tourists.

As of Thursday afternoon, 60 mainland tourists were still hospitalized in Chiayi City, the nearest town to the accident site, while 50 other mainlanders have been discharged from hospital.

Officials with tourism bureaus of Shandong, Sichuan and Guangdong provinces arrived on the island after the tragedy and helped their counterparts in Taiwan to make travel arrangements for family members of the victims to take part in the funeral or visit the injured.

According to the wishes of family members, the body of Lu Caizhi, one of the five deceased from Guangdong, has been cremated in Chiayi and her ashes will be taken back to her mainland hometown.

The other four victims' families were still negotiating with Taiwan authorities on how to best deal with the bodies of their loved ones. Taiwan's agricultural authority, which is in charge of the Ali Mountain train's operation, said it will finishing processing insurance claims regarding those mainlanders involved in the accident in two days time.

With help of tourism agencies on both sides, a total of 99 family members and 13 travel agency staff from the mainland have come to Taiwan since the accident.

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