Chinese train crash toll rises

2011-07-23 22:55

Beijing - A Chinese bullet train lost power after being struck by lightning and was hit from behind by another train, knocking two of its carriages off a bridge, killing at least 31 people and injuring 191, state media reported.

The official Xinhua News Agency said four cars on the second train also derailed, but it did not say how serious that was.

The first train was travelling from the Zhejiang provincial capital of Hangzhou when the accident occurred in Wenzhou city at about 20:30 (12:30 GMT), Xinhua said.

It said one carriage from the first train fell about 20 to 30m. Pictures on the Internet showed one badly damaged car lying on its side by the bridge and the second car leaning against the bridge after landing on its end..

Xinhua quoted an unidentified witness as saying "rescuers have dragged many passengers out of the coach that fell on the ground".

The trains involved are "D'' trains, the first generation bullet train with an average speed of about 150km/h and not as fast as the new Beijing-Shanghai line.

Xinhua said the train hit by lightning was "D3115." It said the Ministry of Railways confirmed that it was hit from behind by train "D301."

China has spent billions of dollars and plans more massive spending to link the country with a high-speed rail network. Recently, power outages and other malfunctions have plagued the showcase high-speed line between Beijing and Shanghai since it opened on June 30.

  • BardofAvon - 2011-07-24 05:18

    This accident was caused by an "Act of God" and not bad maintenance or human error. My prayers and thoughts go out to the victims and the Chinese nation.

      Ixian - 2011-07-24 08:48

      It was a bolt of lighting, God had nothing to do with it.

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