China: Around The Nation

Chinese train driver loses leg saving elderly woman ‘frozen’ on the tracks

Locomotive engineer says he has ‘no regrets’ and would do it again if it meant saving someone’s life

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 July, 2017, 3:24pm
UPDATED : Monday, 10 July, 2017, 10:45am

A train driver in southwest China who lost a leg saving an elderly woman who’d wandered onto the track said he has “no regrets”, according to local media.

Xu Qiankai, a 29-year-old locomotive engineer, said the incident happened on Thursday afternoon as he was moving a train to a service depot at Rongchang station, Chongqing Evening News reported on Sunday.

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Although the area was clearly marked with “No Trespassing” signs, Xu said he looked up and saw a woman on the track in front of him.

But when he pulled the emergency brake and blasted his horn to warn her, she just froze, he said.

When Xu realised that she wasn’t going to get out of the way, he leapt from his cab and ran towards her, the report said.

As the locomotive was being taken for a service it wasn’t coupled to any carriages or wagons and was moving quite slowly, so Xu was able to get in front of it.

Sadly he wasn’t quite fast enough. Although he managed to reach the woman and push her to safety, before he could save himself, the wheels of the oncoming train ran over his right leg.

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Xu was rushed to hospital, but due to the severity of the injury, doctors were unable to save his leg and were forced to amputate it from just above the knee.

“I lost a leg, but [saved] a life,” the former military man was quoted as saying through his tears. “If life repeated itself, I would do it again.”

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The woman, who wasn’t named in the report, visited Xu in hospital. At his bedside, she dropped to her knees and thanked him repeatedly for saving her life.