China restarts trains on disaster line

April 29, 2008 - 12:20PM

China has reopened the railway line that on Monday saw the country's worst train accident in over a decade with at least 70 people killed.

Passenger train T196 made its way past the stretch near Zibo in the eastern province of Shandong where two trains slammed into each other early on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

China's worst train accident since 1997 came as the government strives to make the country secure for the Beijing Olympics in August. Authorities have signalled that they do not want people to linger over the accident.

Local railway officials have already been sacked and state media reported that a senior prosecutor had gone to the scene to investigate possible dereliction of duty.

More than 1,200 paramilitary troops, police and officials had also gathered to help the rescue and "maintain order", the Ta Kung Pao, a mainland-run Hong Kong paper, reported.

On Monday, the country's main evening television news reported on the disaster but was restrained when showing shots of the crumpled train carriages and twisted tracks.

Hundreds of injured passengers are in hospitals and with about 70 in critical condition and the number of dead could rise.

Zhang Lin, an athlete who was on the train from Beijing to the Shandong coastal city Qingdao, said she was jolted awake early Monday morning and thrown out of the carriage window by the force of the crash, the China Daily reported.

The carriage came to rest centimetres from her feet.

"One more roll by the carriages could have crushed me," she told the paper from hospital, where she is being treated for fractures and bruising.

"From that moment on, I dare not close my eyes."

2008 Reuters, Click for Restrictions