September 28, 2011

CHINA: Several older people in state of shock after train crash

SHANGHAI, China / The Shanghai Daily / Metro / September 28, 2011

Shocked victims describe sudden, chaotic violence

By Dong Zhen and Xu Chi 

MANY victims were still in a state of shock well after yesterday's subway crash, after walking hundreds of meters through the narrow underground tunnel in the dark to reach the surface.

Chen Fengjun, 62, and Zhang Rui, both from Shanghai, were on their way to a tea party with friends when they experienced the shock of the crash.

Rescuers evacuate passengers after a subway train collision in Shanghai on September 27, 2011, where a crash between two metro trains injured more than 40 people, as more than 500 passengers have been evacuated from the trains after the collision, which was apparently caused by a signal failure. STR/AFP/Getty Images. Courtesy: Bloomberg News

"Everybody was thrown up and most hit the hand rails heavily," recalled Zhang, who suffered a bulge on her right forehead. She said she was still feeling dizzy and would go to the hospital by herself later.

The women were sitting in the lead carriage on the first train. It had parked for about 40 minutes before being run into by the following train.

Zhang said all the victims were asked to leave their phone numbers and names with the Metro authority before leaving, and those choosing to go hospitals on their own could deal with related issues later.

Chen said she saw at least 10 riders with bloody injuries inside her carriage. Noting that she was on the car "farthest from the collision point, it's terrible to imagine what took place around the rear end of the train."

Chen suffered cuts to her right leg and received first-aid by rescuers immediately after they emerged from the tunnel.

"The carriage was a mess and some people including children and seniors cried in pain," Chen said.

Zhang said "the train had stopped for so long and we did not know why. Some were getting impatient, and they started slapping the door to the driver's room to demand an explanation before the crash took place."

"I started feeling afraid and recalled the Wenzhou bullet train crash nightmare as the parking extended," Zhang said.

A train broken down on the rails was slammed into by a speeding train in the devastating accident in Wenzhou, which killed 40 people on July 23.

Yesterday's victims said the first rescuers arrived about 15 minutes after the crash and told them to leave the seats for the more seriously injured. They were later guided to leave the train through the driver's room and to evacuate by walking through the tunnel.

The crash was truly a heavy blow for one family as all the three family members, the parents and their daughter, were injured. They were seated in the first carriage of the second train. Mao Fengqin, 58, whose arm was broken in the accident, kept murmuring as she was trying to comfort her injured and terrified husband and daughter when they were waiting in line for CT scans at the Shuguang Hospital.

"There were at least three sudden brakes with strong forces that lifted up almost all the passengers on the seats and threw them to the iron protection rails or the ground," she recalled. "I saw glasses shattering. The whole carriage starting to tilt, and I heard everyone screaming desperately."

She said some iron materials on the train were crushed and deformed when the collision happened, with small, sharp pieces "shooting to their bodies and leaving small cuts."

Mao said the carriage was full of passengers, with the seats all occupied and many people standing. She and her family were all sitting. She said she was thrown against other passengers during the sudden braking, "hitting others on their heads to cause bleeding, and was eventually knocked against the iron protection rails," which broke her arm.

"The lights went off all of a sudden and the air-conditioning system also broke," said Mao's daughter, Mao Ying, 36.

"For the 15 minutes that we had been trapped inside, many passengers in the other carriages that had no ventilation systems felt dizzy and hard to breathe."

She said a man in his 70s suddenly collapsed and he was later helped by a batch of passengers who carried him to the train's first carriage, opening up the driver's cab and letting him lie down near a broken window.

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