Sun, May 23, 2010
China > Mainland

Passenger train derails in east China, at least 10 dead, 55 injured

2010-05-23 07:31:43 GMT2010-05-23 15:31:43 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Rescuers work at the site where a passenger train derailed in Dongxiang County, east China's Jiangxi Province, May 23, 2010. (Xinhua/Chen Chunyuan)

Rescuers work at the site where a passenger train derailed in Dongxiang County, east China's Jiangxi Province, May 23, 2010. (Xinhua/Shen Yang)

Rescuers work at the site where a passenger train derailed in Dongxiang County, east China's Jiangxi Province, May 23, 2010. (Xinhua/Chen Chunyuan)

DONGXIANG, Jiangxi, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Death toll from a passenger train derail in east China's Jiangxi Province on Sunday has risen to 10, rescue headquarters said.

At least 55 people were injured, two severely, the rescue headquarters said in a statement.

The train, bound for the tourist city of Guilin in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region from Shanghai, derailed at around 2:10 a.m. in Dongxiang county, Fuzhou city in Jiangxi, after being hit by landslides, the Ministry of Railways said in a press release early Sunday. At least ten passengers were injured, it said.

Xinhua reporters who rushed to the scene saw the locomotive, plus eight of the 17 carriages of the train -- coded K859 -- derailed and some even overturned in the mountainous area of Jiangxi. One carriage was twisted and crushed on the other.

"Each of the train carriages has 118 seats. It is not yet immediately known how many passengers were on board," said a police officer surnamed Luo, who was from the Railway Bureau in Nanchang, Jiangxi provincial capital.

He said the bureau has called for all of its four legal medical experts to the accident site to help identify the dead.

A rescue official surnamed Yu said hundreds of armed police, firemen and soldiers were trying to reach those still trapped in the wreckage.

By a carriage, a man in his 20s, with blood stains on his shirt and a bleeding arm, was trying to help the rescuers.

The man said he was playing cards with his wife when the lights suddenly went out and the train started to roll.

"I climbed out of the window, but my wife is trapped."

More than a dozen ambulances were parked along the tracks.

Rescuers told Xinhua at least 20 injured passengers were saved. Four seriously injured people were taken to hospital.

Eighteen injured people, all from the fourth carriage, including two seriously injured, were sent to Dongxiang People's Hospital, said a hospital spokesman.

"We received report on the accident at 2:30 a.m. and the injured were taken in at around 4 a.m.," he said.

Zeng Baofeng, who had injuries to his head, arm and lower back, said he was he first to climb out of the fourth carriage.

"The carriage was not full. Less than half of the seats, about 50 to 60, were taken."

After climbing out a window, Zeng heard people crying and went back into the carriage to help others out. Wang Mei was among the people he helped.

"I was sleeping when it all happened. I thought it was an earthquake," Wang said.

Hu Youling, unharmed, sat by her boyfriend, Li Tao, who had his arm broken trying to protect her. They managed to escape the wreckage themselves.

"I used the light of my cellphone, I saw bits of bodies on the floor."

Minister of Railways Liu Zhijun has ordered all-out efforts to save lives, to restore the rail transport and to launch a thorough investigation of the cause of the accident.

Jiangxi Governor Wu Xinxiong arrived at Dongxiang early Sunday to oversee the rescue operations.

Most of Jiangxi, along with neighboring provinces, has been drenched by heavy rains in the past week. Farms have been destroyed, low-lying villages and towns flooded, and at least four reservoirs have been forced to release fast-rising water.

Local authorities said around 1.46 million people were affected, and 44,600 were evacuated.

In parts of south China, rainstorms since early May have triggered floods and mud-rock flows, swollen rivers, burst dikes, threatened reservoirs and damaged highways, bridges and power facilities.

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