Trains Collide In China; 27 Dead
BEIJING (AP) _ Two passenger trains collided Thursday in a Shanghai suburb, killing 27 Japanese students on a school trip, the Japanese Embassy said. Other reports said more than 100 other people were injured.
China’s official Xinhua News Agency said one of the trains had ignored a stop signal when it left Shanghai station.
There were discrepancies in death and injury reports. Foreign Ministry officials in Tokyo, citing reports from the Japanese Consulate in Shanghai, said the death toll of 27 included a victim that was possibly Chinese.
A total of 47 Japanese and 57 Chinese passengers were injured in the crash, government officials in Tokyo said.
Shigekazu Sato, an official with the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, said the injured included 36 people from Gakugei High School in southern Japan’s Kochi Prefecture.
The crash, in the Shanghai suburb of Fengbang, occurred at 2 p.m. when a northbound train leaving Shanghai for Hangzhou collided with a southbound train arriving from Changsha, said Fu Fenghao, spokesman for the Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office.
Fu said it had not been determined if there were other foreigners on the train.
The departing train’s first two cars and the luggage car of the other train were knocked off the tracks. Most of the victims appeared to be in the first cars of the departing train, Fu said.
Xinhua said the departing train ″rolled out of the Kuangxiang station, ignoring the prohibiting signal, and collided with the train that was entering the station.″
Kazuyoshi Shoji at the Japanese Consulate in Shanghai said one of the dead Japanese was Hideo Shimomura, identified by television stations in Tokyo as a 16-year-old student.
The 193-member Gakugei High School group was traveling on the Hangzhou- bound train. Shoji said the group was in the car immediately behind the engine.
″We were playing cards and suddenly there was a loud bang, and things went flying all over the floor,″ said an unidentified male student interviewed in Shanghai by the Japan Broadcasting Corp.
″There was a huge bump, and then one of our teachers came into the car and told us to get out,″ said another student. ″We broke the windows and climbed out.″
The train tracks were blocked seven hours after the accident, Fu said. He said soldiers, police and medical workers took the dead and injured to nearby hospitals and that investigators were at the scene.
It was China’s fourth fatal train accident this year. Three train accidents killed 141 people in January.