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July 30, 2009

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4 die, 34 injured as landslide rocks trigger train derailment

FOUR passengers died and 34 were injured after a train derailed in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region yesterday in a rain-triggered landslide.

Train 1473, from Xiangfan in central China's Hubei Province to Zhanjiang in Guangdong Province, derailed at 4:22am in a narrow valley in Liuzhou City of Guangxi.

The locomotive and its first four sleeper cars derailed, railway authorities in Guangxi's capital of Nanning said.

Two of the injured were in a critical condition, said Xiang Jun, secretary general of the Liuzhou City government.

Most of the injured had been transferred to four hospitals in Liuzhou with better facilities, he said.

About 100 buses were arranged to transport about 1,400 stranded passengers to nearby railway stations or Liuzhou.

A special train sent them to Zhanjiang later in the day.

"I heard an ear-piercing sound of the brakes, which lasted about a minute, then I was thrown out and lost consciousness," said Chen Dian who was on the train with three members of his family.

Chen said he found himself lying on the tracks, aching and soaked with kerosene.
"It was dark and raining," he said. "I saw the first carriage was in pieces. I heard people screaming and the noise of breaking glass."

Chen then pulled his wife, son and daughter from their carriage. He went to help others after he found his family.

Chen was treated at hospital for minor injuries.

A steward on the fourth carriage, Wang Biming, said he lost consciousness in the accident. His waist area was bleeding when he was rescued by colleagues who broke a window and pulled him out.

The steward said many passengers remained in the damaged carriage so he went to help them. He took off the door of the carriage and covered it with blankets as an escape ramp.

Wang was also taken to hospital for treatment.

The train derailed after it hit rocks on the tracks. The rocks were swept there in a landslide triggered by continuous heavy rain, Xiang of the Liuzhou government said.
Heavy rain hit the northern and central parts of Guangxi from Monday to early yesterday.

Almost 2,000 police officers, workers and officials toiled to rescue the victims, clearing rocks and debris from the line and using a large crane to lift damaged carriages off the track. The undamaged carriages were removed by a rescue train.
The line linking Jiaozuo, in central China's Henan Province, to Liuzhou, was cut, but reopened to traffic at 6:05pm.

Six excavators were clearing an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 cubic meters of landslide debris from the site.

The narrow space did not allow more excavators to enter, rescuers said.


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