At least three people were killed and 80 others, mostly schoolchildren, were injured when a speeding train hit a fully loaded bus in Urumqi yesterday.
Xinhua quoted one witness, restaurant owner Ma Shuhua, as saying the public bus smashed through railway barriers and stopped on the tracks just after 9am after its driver lost control.
'Upon seeing that a train was coming, some passers-by wasted no time and waved to try to stop the train,' Ma said. 'But the train was going too fast to stop and rammed into the bus at high speed.'
Another witness, a storekeeper, said: 'The bus was fully loaded and many of the passengers began to jump out of the windows before the train hit. It was a total mess. Some nearby residents joined in the rescue and some of the injured were rushed to hospitals by passers-by.'
The report said three people were killed at the scene and that 10 were seriously injured. They were taken to four hospitals in the regional capital of Xinjiang .
The report cited unnamed sources at the Urumqi Rescue Centre as saying that at least 41 of the injured were children under the age of 16, some of whom had been on their way to school. The three pronounced dead were all adults - two women and a man.
A doctor at the Urumqi Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine said four victims aged from 13 to 25 had been sent to the hospital. 'Three of them are Uygurs while one is a 21-year-old Han Chinese,' he said. 'All of them are suffering injuries to the lower parts of their bodies and undergoing medical treatment, but all of them are out of life-threatening danger.'
A staff member at the General Hospital of the Xinjiang Military Region said last night that they had admitted 39 victims.
The Xinhua report said many Urumqi residents had donated blood at the hospital after learning it was running short of supplies for transfusions following the many operations carried out after the accident.
The driver of the bus, which was severely damaged, suffered only minor injuries and was taken away by police for questioning.
An investigation into the accident is under way.