Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Toddler pulled alive from China train crash wreckage [AP/The Age]

Unfortunate news. There had been talk earlier that corruption (Corruption Hits China’s High-Speed Railway, FT/CNBC March 24 2011) could put a grinding halt the high speed rail project with breakdowns as recent as this month – High Speed Rail breaks down again (China Daily, July 14, 2011).

58 trains have been suspended and the fault has been identified as lightning-triggered.  In Chinese fashion, the accountable will be hunted down and made an example of – Senior officials sacked after deadly train collision (China Daily, July 24, 2011).

Although this line from Hangzhou to Wenzhou which I have taken is another altogether, and older.

It looks like China’s ambitious high speed rail plans (see earlier posts – China’s rail expansion is on the fast track (Straits Times, November 8 2010)) hits a major multifaceted hurdle of engineering, corruption and people’s diplomacy. The official apology from the ministry – Ministry spokesman apologizes for deadly crash + China Daily’s updates [China Daily, July 25, 2011)

– – –

Toddler pulled alive from China train crash wreckage
Source – The Age, published July 25, 2011

Off track … carriages were derailed in the accident. Photo: AP

A toddler was rescued about 21 hours after a crash involving two high-speed trains in eastern China killed at least 43 people and injured more than 200 others, state media reported.

The unconscious child was found early on Sunday evening while rescuers were clearing one of the train cars just as the cleanup efforts were almost completed. It cited an unnamed firefighter.

“When we found him, he could still move his hands,” Xinhua News Agency quoted the firefighter as saying.

China Central Television first reported the toddler was a boy, but later said the child was a four-year-old girl.

The toddler was taken to hospital and no other details were provided.

A bullet train was travelling south from the Zhejiang provincial capital of Hangzhou on Saturday evening when it lost power in a lightning strike and stalled, before being hit from behind by the second train in Wenzhou city.

Eight more bodies were recovered on Sunday from damaged train cars, bringing the death toll to 43, Xinhua said.

Two foreigners were among the dead but their nationalities were unclear, said an official surnamed Wang in the Zhejiang provincial emergency office. A total of 211 people were injured, Xinhua said.

The first four cars of the moving train fell about 20 to 30 metres off the viaduct onto the ground below. One carriage ended up in a vertical position, leaning against the viaduct.

The Ministry of Railways said in a statement the first four cars of the moving train and the last two of the stalled train derailed.

Three railway officials were fired after the crash and would be subject to investigation, Xinhua quoted the ministry as saying.

They were identified as Long Jing, head of the Shanghai Railway Bureau; Li Jia, head of the Shanghai railway bureau’s committee of the Communist Party of China; and deputy chief of the bureau, He Shengli.

The second train involved in the crash came from Beijing and both trains were destined for Fuzhou in eastern Fujian province.

Wang, who only gave his surname, as is common with Chinese officials, said it was unclear how long the first train had sat on the track before being struck.

State broadcaster CCTV said there were more than 900 passengers on the train that stalled, and more than 500 passengers on the train that hit it.

Early on Sunday, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao called for an all-out effort to rescue passengers still trapped in the wreckage hours after the collision.

More than 500 residents had given blood by 9am on Sunday after appeals from the local blood bank, which said many of the injured needed transfusions, CCTV reported.

It was China’s worst train accident since April 2008, when a train travelling from Beijing to the eastern coastal city of Qingdao derailed and crashed into another train, leaving 72 dead and another 416 injured.



Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, AP, Automotive, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Civil Engineering, Corruption, Crime, Disaster, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, High Speed Rail, Infrastructure, Modernisation, Population, Social, The Age, Transport

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