At least 16 dead, 89 injured after derailed train fall off bridge in east China

Other News Materials 23 July 2011 22:51 (UTC +04:00)

At least 16 people were dead and 89 injured after two coaches of a bullet train fell off a bridge after derailing in east China's Zhejiang Province late Saturday, local police, firefighters and hospital sources said, Xinhua reported.

The train numbered D3115, running from the provincial capital Hangzhou to the southeastern city of Fuzhou, derailed at the section of Shuangyu Town in Wenzhou City of Zhejiang.

The accident occurred after the train was hit by lightning and lost drive, and then rear-ended by another bullet train, the official microblog of Hangzhou TV "News 60 minutes" program quoted a local railway official as saying.

The Ministry of Railways confirmed at 11:20 p.m. Saturday that the D301 train from Beijing to Fuzhou rear-ended the D3115 train at 8:50 p.m. The first four coaches of D301 and the 15th and 16th coaches of D3115 went off the line.

A witness said a coach of D3115 plunged onto the ground vertically while another coach was hanging on the bridge with one side seriously deformed.

The bridge is about 20 to 30 meters above the ground.

"Rescuers have dragged many passengers out of the coach falling on the ground," a witness told Xinhua over phone.

Passengers on the train were crying for help via microblog right after the accident.

A microblogger named "Sam Is Me" wrote on weibo.com that he was stranded in a coach of D3115 on the railway in Wenzhou City. "Please help me!...Help!!! Help!!!" he wrote at 9 p.m. "I'm so scared."

Witnesses said the scene was crowded by people, which complicated the rescue work.

Passengers themselves joined in the rescue work. Photos from the scene showed that people were trying to take injured passengers out of a coach.

"Sam Is Me" reported safe at 11:20 p.m. "I'm touched by the volunteers who accompanied me all the way down the hill...I saw hundreds of ambulances in the town. I think it is a big accident. I hope the passengers at the scene are safe...Bless for the injured," he wrote on his microblog.

Zhejiang provincial department of health organized four medical teams heading to the scene, consisted of medical staff from Zhejiang No. 1 Hospital, Zhejiang No.2 Hospital, Zhejiang Provincial People's Hospital and Taizhou Hospital.

The department also required hospital staff near the site to rush to the scene for rescue work.

The blood center of Zhejiang Province is "fully prepared to guarantee rescue blood." The center was reported to have transported blood to Wenzhou City from Lishu City, according to the FM93.0 radio of Zhejiang.

The radio said hospital blood was in tight supply and called on Wenzhou residents to donate blood to the city's blood center.

Right after the accident, Minister of Railways Sheng Guangzu rushed to the ministry's control and command center in Beijing to guide the rescue. The latest news was that Sheng was heading for the accident scene.

Sheng called for immediate and greatest and efforts from the rescue teams to save the injured passengers, and he required an in-depth investigation in the accident.

Hu Yadong and Lu Chunfang, deputy ministers of railways, were also hurriedly going to the scene for rescue work.