At least 35 dead, 190 injured in east China train crash

09:32, July 24, 2011      

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Rescue personnel work on the scene of the accident in Shuangyu Town in Wenzhou City of east China's Zhejiang Province, on July 24, 2011. The first four coaches of D301 and the 15th and 16th coaches of D3115 went off the line. (Xinhua/Ju Huanzong)

At least 33 people were killed and 190 others injured in a train crash and derailing accident late Saturday in east China's Zhejiang Province, according to the provincial emergency office.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao called for all-out efforts to rescue passengers and ordered to make rescue work a priority, according to a statement posted on the website of the Ministry of Railways.

The latest result of investigation released early Sunday morning by the Zhejiang provincial government showed that the accident occurred at 8:27 p.m. Saturday at the at the section of Shuangyu Town in Wenzhou City, when high-speed train D301 crashed into another bullet train D3115. Four coaches of D301 fell off the viaduct.


The accident occurred after high-speed train D3115 was allegedly hit by lightning and lost drive, and then rear-ended by another bullet train D301.

The former train was running from the provincial capital Hangzhou to the southeastern city of Fuzhou, and the latter one traveled from Beijing to Fuzhou.

The trains were administrated by two different regional railway bureaus -- train D3115 by the Shanghai Railway Bureau while train D301 by the Nanchang Railway Bureau.

In the opposite direction, high-speed train D3212 from southeastern city of Xiamen to Hangzhou was also stopped by lightning at about 8 p.m. Saturday. No passenger was injured, said Liu Jiwei who was on board.

Pan Yiheng, the driver of train D301, was stabbed to death by a brake handle in his chest. He triggered the emergency brake at the last moment of his life, according to the FM93.0 radio of Zhejiang.

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 of D3115. There were more than 60 passengers aboard the coach.

"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 on train D3115. She and her whole family, four adults and two children, got on the train from Hangzhou.

"At around 8 p.m. 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.

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."

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 p.m. "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.

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