9 killed on Hebei railway bridge

Updated: 2012-08-04 07:50

By Chen Xin (China Daily)

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A freight train hit and killed nine people at the Funing section of the Datong-Qinhuangdao Railway in North China's Hebei province on Friday morning, the Ministry of Railways said.

The accident happened at 5:28 am, and four other people were injured, a ministry statement said.

The injured have been sent to hospitals for emergency treatment and their lives were out of danger as of 4 pm, according to a statement from the Qinhuangdao municipal government.

The ministry said torrential rain destroyed paths near their homes, so people from three villages had to walk close to the railway tracks. When they reached the Miwuhe railway bridge, they were hit by a freight train.

"The connection between the villages and the outside world had been cut off, so the villagers could only walk along the narrow paths on the two sides of the railway bridge and that led to the tragedy," an unnamed local villager was quoted as saying by Xinhua News Agency.

"Some villagers were killed by the train and some were knocked down from the 10-meter high bridge," the villager said.

Further investigations are under way.

The Datong-Qinhuangdao Railway is the main channel transporting coal from the resource-rich Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region to the port city of Qinhuangdao.

An insider with the railway industry was quoted by people.com.cn, the website of the People's Daily, as saying that due to the heavy load of trains, the railway industry has been concerned with problems connected with locomotive brakes.

Meanwhile, debris caused by the continuous torrential rain blocked the Beijing-Harbin Railway's Qinhuangdao section on Thursday and led to the delay of 11 trains bound for Beijing. The railway line resumed operations on Friday but trains could only run at a limited speed when going through the disaster-hit section.

Rains have made the water level of many reservoirs in Qinhuangdao surpass the warning levels. Nearly 700 residents in five villages at the lower reaches of the Yanghe Reservoir were evacuated on Thursday.

Also, due to fears of the potential impact brought by typhoons, the Nanchang Railway Bureau said on Friday that they have halted ticket sales for 44 bullet trains linking Fuzhou, Xiamen, Longyan and Fuding.

Sun Li in Fuzhou contributed to this story.