19 killed in train derailment in east China

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Nineteen people were killed and another 71 were injured after a passenger train carrying 568 people derailed on a section of mud-covered track in east China's Jiangxi Province at Sunday dawn.

At least 3 killed as passenger train derails in E China 

A passenger train derailed after being hit by landslides in Jiangxi Province 

By late Sunday, rescuers have recovered 19 bodies and saved all survivors from the wreckage at a rain-soaked hillside in Dongxiang county near Fuzhou city, authorities said. Most of the injured, including 11 in serious conditions, are being treated in six hospitals in the province.

President Hu Jintao ordered local authorities to fast mobilize manpower and resources to save the injured and to restore rail traffic as soon as possible.

Hu also told officials to ramp up disaster prevention efforts in regions affected by floods.

Rail traffic resumed on the disrupted Shanghai-Kunming line at 21:15 p.m. Sunday after 2,000 rescuers -- backed by a score of cranes and backhoes -- removed the wreckage and 8,000 cubic meters of mud and rocks.

A probe led by the Ministry of Railways found that the 17-carriage train, coded K859, derailed after hitting a section of track that had been damaged by a landslide in Dongxiang at around 2:10 a.m. Sunday.

"I was sleeping when it all happened. I thought it was an earthquake," said Wang Mei, a passenger who escaped the accident unharmed and helped in the rescue operations.

Another survivor Hu Youling said she climbed out of the mangled carriage unharmed while her boyfriend hurt his hand while protecting her.

"It (the carriage) shook like in an earthquake. Then came a shriek of the brake and bangs as carriages overturned," Hu said.

"I turned on the light of my cell phone and saw injured passengers all over the place. Blood was dripping from the tilted carriage ceiling," she added.

Xinhua reporters who arrived on the scene early Sunday saw the train's locomotive and nine carriages came off the tracks and some overturned on the hilly site. One carriage was twisted and crushed on top of another.

The train was en route from Shanghai to tourist city of Guilin in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region at an average speed of 169 kilometers per hour.

About 160 fire-fighters were the first to arrive at the wreckage. The rescue team was quickly backed up by more than 1,000 soldiers, policemen and medical workers. Rescuers used heavy machinery to cut open the twisted carriage to pull out survivors.

Li Li, head of the provincial health bureau, said he ordered the hospitals to save lives at any cost by mobilizing their best staff and using the best medicines and equipments.

After the accident, trains on the Shanghai-Kunming line, a major rail line linking China's eastern coast to the southwest border, were halted.

Minister of Railways Liu Zhijun, who is on a foreign trip, has ordered all-out efforts to repair the damages and reopen the line. Jiangxi Governor Wu Xinxiong was at Dongxiang from early Sunday to oversee the operations.

About 6,100 passengers who were stranded at Shanghai railway station have been refunded. And at Jiangxi's Yingtan city, a key regional railway transport hub, 2,800 stranded travelers were transferred. No disruption of order was reported in either station.

Most of Jiangxi, along with neighboring provinces, has been drenched by heavy rains in the past week. Farms have been destroyed, low-lying villages and towns flooded, and at least four reservoirs have been forced to release fast-rising water.

Local authorities said around 1.76 million people were affected, and 90,000 were evacuated.

In parts of south China, rainstorms since early May have triggered floods and mud-rock flows, swollen rivers, burst dikes, threatened reservoirs and damaged highways, bridges and power facilities.

A short break of the rainy season is expected in the coming days in Jiangxi but threats of landslides remain, state weather forecasters said.

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