At least 3 killed, 85 injured in train, bus collision in Xinjiang

At least 3 killed, 85 injured in train, bus collision in Xinjiang
# 24 March 2011 18:34 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA.At least three people died and 85 others have been injured after a train ran into a stalled bus on Thursday morning in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, according to the local rescue center, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

The bus lost control on a turn at 9:07 a.m. and veered off the road in the regional capital of Urumuqi City. It slid for more than 20 meters on the snow-covered land, coming to a stop on the railroad tracks after crashing through a fence and knocking down an electric pole.

Kurwanaim Mushakim, whose feet were injured in the crash, had barely climbed out of the bus when she saw a train coming toward the fully-loaded bus. "I heard many children crying on the bus." The train jarred the bus, knocking it onto its side.

Minutes before the collision, many people waved hard to get the train to stop, but it was too late, said Ma Shuhua, who runs a restaurant nearby. "Some adults on the bus helped children jump out of the window seconds before the collision," she said.

Witnesses say one barbecue vendor nearby, who rushed to pull students out of the bus, was also injured from the impact.

The three fatalities were adults, two women and a man. Among the injured were at least 41 children under age 16. The youngest was five years old, according to sources with the Urumqi Rescue Center.

Many local residents immediately came to rescue the passengers, helping children escape and transport the injured in their cars. The accident occurred near two primary schools and a densely-populated commercial area in west Urumqi.

Munila, 11, a second grader in one of the nearby schools, is resting in a local hospital. "All I can remember is someone held me up and passed me to another man down the window." She only had some bruises on her left leg and a few scratches on her hand.

Treatment of the injured attracted attention from Internet users, with photos going viral through micro-blogs and forums. People crowded in local hospitals to donate blood for the injured.

The Route 531 bus was heavily damaged in the accident, with windows shattered and seats deformed. However, the bus was not twisted or severely deformed. The train left about one hour after the accident. No one aboard the train was injured.

Residents say that the buses on Route 531, which is contracted to a private company, are not maintained well and are extremely crowded during rush hour.