Four die after train derails in China

Updated: 2007-02-28 21:38

A sandstorm with hurricane-strength wind gusts has derailed a train in China's far west, killing at least four people and injuring another 30, state media says.

Overturned carriages lie off the tracks after a passenger train was blown off the tracks by strong winds near Turpan, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the wee hours on February 28, 2007. The winds blew nine out of the 11 train cars off the tracks. Four were killed and dozens injured in the accident. [newsphoto]

The 11-car train had just left a station in Turpan, in the Xinjiang region's east, when it was hit by wind at 2 am Wednesday, the Xinhua News Agency said.

"A strong sandstorm cracked window panes soon after the train left Turpan, and blew some of the cars off the rail when we were trying to plug up the windows," Xinhua quoted passenger Su Chuanyi as saying.

Sandstorms fed by the deserts of Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia blow toward Beijing and the eastern seaboard each spring powered by vigorous winds. Sometimes, the dust blows out across the Pacific, clouding the skies of South Korea and occasionally drifting as far as the western coast of the United States.

At least 100 rescue workers, doctors and police were at the scene of the derailment, which disrupted operations of the Southern Xinjiang Railway, it said.

The train had been running between the capital city of Urumqi and Aksu, in the west.

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