More than a thousand mourners showed up at a funeral in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, to pay their last respects to the parents of toddler Xiang Weiyi, who was 'miraculously' pulled alive from the wreckage of last month's massive train crash.
The crowds of onlookers who crammed into the city's crematorium in the early morning were testament to the depth of feeling stirred up by the 2 1/2-year-old girl's remarkable survival after spending 21 hours trapped in a crushed rail carriage.
Both her parents were among the at least 40 people who died after a high-speed train collided into another outside Wenzhou on July 23.
The search for survivors had been abandoned more than 12 hours before Weiyi, known to her family as Yiyi, was dramatically discovered, leading to suspicions more could otherwise have been found alive.
Edited videos of the funeral had been posted on the internet by lunchtime yesterday, showing mourners filling a memorial hall at the crematorium and filing past the couple's coffins and portraits. Many laid single white carnations.
'No matter how long you have gone, we can still hear your voices,' read a message in white on a black banner hung on one wall of the hall.
The coffins of Yiyi's father, Xiang Yuan, and mother, Shi Lihong, were slowly marched out of the memorial hall by an honour guard of 26 police dressed in pure white uniforms, including a brass band with a dozen musicians.
Each coffin was led by a relative carrying a portrait photograph of the deceased.
A spokesman for Yuying Children's Hospital, where Yiyi is being treated, said although the girl's condition was improving, she had not been able to be present at her parents' funeral.
'As Yiyi is still in intensive care, there was no question of her being able to attend,' he said. 'It is very difficult to say how much longer she will need to stay in intensive care, as that will depend how she responds to a series of operations she is due to undergo in the coming days and weeks. Her condition is still very complicated.'