Mon, July 25, 2011
China > Mainland > Bullet train collision in Zhejiang

Survivors, rescuers recall bloody night after bullet train derailment

2011-07-24 05:12:45 GMT2011-07-24 13:12:45(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

A man walks past a derailed train in Wenzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, July 24, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua]

WENZHOU, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Jumping through a broken window of the deformed train carriage she was trapped in was certainly dangerous, but it also might have saved Feng's life.

The elderly woman and her family survived a high-speed train derailment that occurred at 8:38 p.m. in the city of Wenzhou on Saturday. The accident has left at least 35 people dead and 210 others injured in east China's Zhejiang Province.

When the accident occurred, the 62-year-old Feng, her husband and 14-year-old grandson were in the No. 4 carriage of high-speed train D301. The train she and her family were in rear-ended train D3115, which allegedly came to a stop on the tracks after being hit by lightning.

The first four carriages of D301 plunged off of an elevated bridge, while the last two coaches of D3115, No. 15 and No. 16, derailed without falling off of the bridge.

"The lights suddenly went off. The carriage began shaking heavily and passengers were stumbling around," said Feng, who declined to give her full name.

"We didn't know what happened, but I instinctively shouted to my boy, 'Run! You run! It's okay if grandma dies'," Feng said.

Then, some passengers managed to break the carriage's window and we jumped out, she said. "We had no idea about the height, we just jumped."

Feng and the other passengers faced a fall of roughly 20 meters from the window to the ground.

Passengers in the other train also recounted their first moments before, during and after the crash.

"Our train stopped for more than 20 minutes, the attendants said it was because of the lightning. But after the train started off again shortly, I felt a heavy pounding and then the power went off," recalled a woman surnamed Sun, who was in the No. 15 carriage of train D3115 with her five-year-old daughter.

"I realized that I lost my girl [during the power failure]. Luckily, I found her under the opposite seat in the darkness," Sun said, adding that her daughter was hit in the chest and suffered slight injuries.

Yu Zhuoshuai, one of more than 600 firefighters who participated in rescue operations conducted after the crash, said his 28-member team rushed to the site just before 9 p.m. He heard rescuers shouting and survivors sobbing, as well as feeble cries from passengers who were trapped in the coaches.

"The carriages were severely deformed, so we had to cut through the wreckage to get in," Yu said.

Yu found many passengers trapped under their seats or under piles of luggage. "They were tightly squeezed and could barely speak," Yu said, adding that his team pulled out more than 10 passengers.

According to Zhao Yide, the mayor of Wenzhou, train D3115 was carrying more than 900 passengers at the time of the accident, while train D301 was carrying over 500. The injured passengers, as well as the bodies of those who died, have been taken to eight of the city's hospitals.

Zhao said rescuers have not detected any remaining signs of life in the train wreckage.

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