Two trains collide in China killing dozens and injuring hundreds

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Location of Shandong within China.

Two trains collided in Shandong, China 4:41am local time on Monday killing at least 71 people and injuring over 400, including four French citizens. It is still not known exactly how many people were on either of the trains.

The collision occurred in Zibo when one of the trains traveling from Beijing to Qingdao jumped tracks and collided head on with a train traveling in the opposite direction from Yantai to Xuzhou. Both of the trains are reported to have been traveling at their maximum speeds when they collided.

"It toppled 90 degrees to one side and then all the way to the other side. When it finally went off the tracks, many people fell on me and hot water poured out of their thermos flasks," said Zhang, a passenger, to Xinhua.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation, but reports say that the tracks were broken under the train traveling from Beijing. The tracks are said to have been built in 1897.

Jinan Railway Bureau officials Chen Gong and Chai Tiemin have been fired after the accident. The two top officials who were the former director and former Communist Party chief, respectively, will face an investigation by the Ministry of Railways.

Four Frenchmen were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities named them as Pascal Boisson, 54, his son Pierre Emmanuel Boisson, 14, his daughter Joanne Boisson, 22, and his girlfriend Robin Naurence, 42. No foreigners were killed in the accident, officials said.