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Strong wind derails train, killing 4 in Xinjiang
www.chinaview.cn 2007-02-28 09:16:48

A car of Train No. 5807 was overturned near the Turpan station in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Feb. 28, 2007.

A car of Train No. 5807 was overturned near the Turpan station in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Feb. 28, 2007. (Xinhua/Sadat)
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    URUMQI, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- At least three passengers have been killed and more than 30 injured after their train was derailed by hurricane force winds, in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region early Wednesday, rescuers said.

    The Urumqi Railway Bureau says three people have been confirmed dead and 34 were injured, two of them in a serious condition.

    According to the Urumqi Railway Bureau, 11 carriages of Train No. 5806 were derailed by winds gusting to 144km at around 2:00 a.m., soon after it left Turpan, about 120 km from Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang. The train was on its way to Aksu, in southern Xinjiang.

    "Winds measured force 13, as powerful as a hurricane," said the railway bureau.

    "Sand and dust cracked the window panes soon after the train left Turpan, and blew some of the cars off the tracks as we were trying to plug up the windows," said passenger Su Chuanyi, a local TV journalist.

    "The first rescue team of more than 100 people, including doctors and police officers, arrived at 4:30 a.m.," Su said.

    The temperature was minus 10 Celsius.

    The area is well known for strong winds and is near a wind farm. A similar accident derailed 11 train carriages of a train in2001.

    The railway, which was blocked for 11 hours, is now back in operation and 1,100 passengers of the derailed train have reached their destination, said the local railway bureau.

    The last passenger was rescued from the train at 10:00 a.m., rescuers said.

    The winds also hampered rescuers.

    "The wind was too strong to stand against. My face and hands were scratched by the sand and small stones. Sand filled my mouth whenever I took a breath," said a rescuer.

    The wind, cold and snow arrived in Xinjiang two days ago, said the regional meteorological station.

    A task force from the Ministry of Railways is heading for the scene.

Editor: Lu Hui
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