The last thing Giovanni Pan recalls of the fateful train journey to Wenzhou over two weeks ago was hugging his girlfriend as they approached the station, as rain streamed down the windows of their carriage. 'The next thing I knew I could feel the rain on my face,' the Chinese-Italian student said. 'All around me there were wrecked train carriages. I couldn't move at all except for one hand, and when I reached down and felt the earth I realised I was below the rail bridge. 'I was awake just long enough to shout for help in Chinese. Then I heard some people calling out, 'Over here, over here, there's another one', before I passed out again. It was such a strange, unreal sight - I was sure it had to be a dream.' When Pan came to, he was in an intensive care unit at the Wenzhou No 2 People's Hospital. 'I thought I had been asleep for just a couple of hours, but I found out it was Tuesday night. I had slept through two and a half days,' he said. Pan, 23, said the first thing he did when he awoke was ask about his girlfriend, Assunta Liguori. 'I was very afraid for her because she spoke no Chinese or the Wenzhou dialect, so she would have no way to communicate,' he said. 'I kept asking questions, but nobody could tell me anything. Then, on Wednesday night, four days after the accident, her mother came to visit me. When I saw her I cried because I was so happy someone was there to look after her. Her mother told me Assunta was fine, and in a hospital like me. But that was a lie.' Two days later - after borrowing a nurse's iPhone to check for news on the disaster - Pan discovered his girlfriend had been among those who died in the crash. 'I know why she lied to me, but I still can't understand how she was able to do it. How could a mother lie about her own daughter like that?' Pan, a native of Naples, Italy, had been taking his girlfriend on her first trip to China, and they were looking forward to visiting his grandparents in his family's home town of Wenzhou. The couple had been in China just three days, and they were on board the first carriage of train D301 from Beijing when it slammed into the back of another bullet train, which had been crawling on the tracks ahead on the night of July 23. 'It is very hurtful for me, because everything was due to me, everything was my choice. She only came to China for me, to accompany me while I visited my grandparents. It was my choice to come to Wenzhou, my choice to travel by train and my choice to take that particular train. 'I know that the crash was not really my fault, but I cannot stop myself thinking that. I feel responsible.' Pan sustained multiple fractures to his neck and back, a broken left hand, shattered ribs and two fractures to his sternum in the crash. He narrowly avoided being paralysed, but is now facing months confined to a bed before he will even be able to sit up. 'The doctor who saved my life told me that if I had arrived at the hospital just five minutes later, I would have died for certain,' he said. 'They are as amazed as I am that I survived.' Pan said he was only interested in focusing on his recovery for the time being, and had rejected all attempts by officials to talk about compensation settlements. He also denied rumours that his family was planning to sue the government. 'That stuff isn't important, believe me. Money and compensation do not mean a thing,' he said. 'When I have recovered my normal life, maybe then I can start thinking about these things.' Pan said that living through the accident, which he described as 'a terrible nightmare', had changed his life. 'I have been thinking a lot in these past few days, thinking about many things,' he said. 'I have been thinking about life - my own and the other lives lost in that train. I can't understand how I survived. That bridge was at least 20 metres tall. That is like jumping out of a seven- or eight-storey building; how could you expect to survive that? 'My parents are Christians, so I can only think that God saved me for a reason. 'I want every person to understand that life is very important, and it is even more important to cherish the person that you love, because you can lose her in a breath. I know that I can't ever hug her again, from now until the end of my life. I can't see her smile any more, and I will never again get to touch her soft face.'