At least 35 killed in China train crash

A bullet train crashed into another high-speed train in eastern China, killing at least 35 people, injuring 191 others and once again raising safety concerns about the country's fast-expanding rail network.

The first train was traveling south from the Zhejiang provincial capital of Hangzhou yesterday evening when it lost power in a lightning strike and stalled, before being hit from behind by the second train in Wenzhou city, the official Xinhua News Agency said.



The first four carriages of the moving train fell about 65 to 100 feet (20 to 30 meters) 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 on Sunday that the first four carriages of the moving train and the last two carriages of the stalled train derailed.



It was the first derailment on China's high-speed rail network since the country launched bullet trains with a top speed of 155 miles (250 kilometers) per hour in 2007, the China Daily reported.



It is an embarrassment for China, which plans to massively expand its bullet train network to link together its far-flung regions and show off its rising wealth and technological prowess. It is also trying to sell its trains to Latin America and the Middle East.



Last month, it launched to great fanfare the Beijing to Shanghai high-speed line, whose trains can travel at a top speed of 186 miles (300 kilometers) per hour. The speed was cut from the originally planned 217 mph (350 kph) after questions were raised about safety.



In less than four weeks of operation, power outages and other malfunctions have plagued the showcase 820-mile (1,318-kilometer) line. The Railways Ministry has apologized for the problems and said that summer thunderstorms and winds were the cause in some cases.



A total of 35 people died in Saturday's accident, including two foreigners, whose nationalities were unclear, said an official surnamed Wang in the Zhejiang provincial emergency office. A further 191 people were being treated at hospitals, said Wang, who gave only his surname, as is common with Chinese officials.



The second train had left Beijing and both trains were destined for Fuzhou in eastern Fujian province. Wang said it was unclear how long the first train had sat on the track before being struck.



Early Sunday, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao had called for an all-out effort to rescue passengers still trapped in the wreckage hours after the collision, Xinhua said. China Central Television later said the search-and-rescue operation had ended by 4 a.m. Sunday.



A preliminary investigation by the Zhejiang provincial government showed that four coaches of the moving train fell off the viaduct. The cars plunged about 65 to 100 feet (20 to 30 meters) from the elevated section of track, Xinhua said.



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



The Wenzhou city government said more than 1,000 people participated in the rescue operation.



About 1,500 passengers were taken to a middle school, and more than 500 residents had given blood by 9 a.m. 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 traveling from Beijing to the eastern coastal city of Qingdao derailed and crashed into another train, leaving 72 dead and another 416 injured.



Minister of Railways Sheng Guangzu, who rushed to the scene, ordered an in-depth investigation of Saturday's accident.



The trains involved are "D" trains — first-generation bullet trains.



China has spent billions of dollars and plans more massive investment to develop its high-speed rail network.



Official plans call for China's bullet train network to expand to 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers) of track this year and 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) by 2020.



China's trains are based on Japanese, French and German technology but its manufacturers are trying to sell to Latin America and the Middle East. That has prompted complaints Beijing is violating the spirit of licenses with foreign providers by reselling technology that was meant to be used only in China.



The huge spending connected with the rail expansion also has been blamed for corruption. Railways Minister Liu Zhijun was dismissed this spring amid an investigation into unspecified corruption allegations.



No details have been released about the allegations against him, but news reports say they include kickbacks, bribes, illegal contracts and sexual liaisons.

Suggested Topics
News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?