Tributes pour in online for quick-thinking driver

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Rescuers evacuate a passenger at the site of the train derail accident in Rongjiang county, Southwest China's Guizhou province, June 4, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Netizens have paid tribute to the quick-thinking high-speed train driver who took emergency braking measures upon detecting an abnormality on a high-speed railway line in Southwest China's Guizhou province before he was killed in the ensuing accident.

Yang Yong, the driver, managed to stop the train and saved passengers' lives before he died, according to a statement released by China State Railway Group, the national railway operator.

The group has paid tribute to the driver.

As the D2809 train traveled from Guiyang to Guangzhou, Guangdong province, two of its carriages came off the tracks at a point hit by mud and rockslides as the train neared Rongjiang station in Guizhou on Saturday. The derailment killed Yang and injured eight others, the group said.

The remaining 136 passengers were evacuated and transferred to safety.

According to an analysis of the train's data, Yang detected an abnormality on the track while the train was in a tunnel before entering Rongjiang station and engaged the emergency brakes. The train hit the rockslide and slid for more than 900 meters before it derailed.

A statement published on the national rail operator's official WeChat account on Saturday received more than 100,000 views.

Netizens have hailed Yang as a hero. A video shows bouquets of flowers at the accident site addressing him.

A netizen from Yunnan province wrote: "As a railway worker and a wife of a train conductor, I know train drivers' responsibilities more than anyone else. Salute to the hero! May you rest in peace!"

Another netizen from Hunan province wrote: "You died protecting people's lives. You are a model for all railway workers and a true hero."

According to media outlet Redstar News based in Chengdu, Sichuan province, Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu released a statement mourning Yang.

According to the statement, Yang, 46, received his training at the school. There, in 2018, he studied bullet train theory, safety regulations, driver psychology and work ethics.

Yang earned a high score on the qualification test, impressing his instructors.

In China, each high-speed train generally has one driver in the cabin, and the job requires a high degree of attention.

A high-speed train driver who preferred to remain anonymous said he feels exhausted after each trip, as conducting a bullet train requires your full attention, even if you know the route very well.

"While behind the controls, I have to be fully focused without the slightest distraction. A few hundred people are behind me, which is a heavy responsibility," he said.

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