Xinhua News Agency

Toddler plucked from wreckage

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 June, 2015, 4:12pm

A toddler was found alive in the wreckage of a bullet train, about 21 hours after the deadly crash in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province.

Firefighters said the girl was found unconscious at around 5.15pm yesterday as rescuers cleared a badly damaged carriage.

'When we found her, she could still move her hands,' a firefighter was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

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

Several hours before the child's discovery, the Ministry of Railways announced that all of the survivors had been rescued. Last night, ministry spokesman Wang Yongping declined to explain why the girl was not found earlier. 'This is just a miracle,' Wang said, prompting jeers from local reporters. 'I can just say that this thing happened.'

Survivors yesterday recounted the events that led to the horrific accident, saying the D301 bullet train came to a halt on the tracks just minutes before starting again, and then running into the back of another stationary train at close to full speed.

'They had announced that we were about to draw into Wenzhou South Station, so I got up and took my luggage down,' Guo Shenglin, 64, who was aboard the D301, said. 'I was standing at the door when the train came to a halt. We stopped for a few minutes and then the train started up again. It was raining really hard outside, really pouring down.

'Suddenly there was this almighty screeching roar, and the impact sent me flying right across the carriage. I didn't know what had happened for a moment, but then I felt this terrible pain in my leg.'

Lying in a bed in the orthopaedic ward at the Wenzhou No3 People's Hospital, Guo lifted the covers from his left leg, revealing splints and temporary bindings on his calf and thigh. Hospital staff said Guo sustained multiple fractures in his upper and lower leg bones. 'I need to have an operation before they know how long it will take to heal,' he said. 'But I'm one of the lucky ones ... at least I got away with my life.'

Guo's carriage was not one of the four that plunged off the side of the bridge, but he said it was left sitting at an awkward angle.

'Some people managed to smash windows and get out, but I couldn't move because of my leg,' he said.

'It was about half an hour or an hour before the rescue workers arrived. Then I had to wait longer as they didn't have a stretcher. 'I remember thinking as they carried me out of the carriage just how high above the ground we were.'

Guo was returning to Wenzhou with a group of tourists. 'Everyone in the group was injured, but I think all except one are going to be OK.'

Witnesses at the scene said dozens of locals rushed to help the crash victims. Huang Danwu, 24, said he was sitting in the small clothing factory where he works when he heard the crash.

'The streets were flooded and the fields were deep with mud, but we ran over as fast as we could,' he said.

'It was a terrible scene. The carriages were piled one on top of another and there were people screaming for help. We managed to pull a lot of them free and smashed open windows so they could escape.'

One survivor told Xinhua the violent shaking felt like 'an earthquake'.