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international

[China] Subway passenger trapped by flood recalls ordeal


Many passengers were trapped on Tuesday in subway cars on Metro Line 5 in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, after heavy rainfall hit the city.

At least 12 were killed and five were hospitalized, according to the local government. By Wednesday morning, all remaining passengers had been rescued.

A woman who survived the ordeal told China Youth Daily her experience:

"I got on the subway to go home on Tuesday afternoon. At first, the train made emergency stops from time to time between stations. Some passengers were still boarding, so I did not think there were any serious problems.

"Then the train made another emergency stop between stations and got stuck there. I could see water rising, and it began to pour into the carriage.

"The train's conductor instructed passengers to walk from the rear of the train to the front, because the front was on higher ground. He then opened the door and instructed everyone to walk along the pedestrian road.

"It was the first time I had heard of pedestrian roads in the subway. We followed his instructions, grabbed the railing and walked toward the station.

"The spot where the subway stopped was very close to the station, a little more than 200 meters. A small number of people walking in front of the group made it safely, but then the water came up fiercely from behind. Most people were unable to make it to the safe area and instead were forced to go back to the subway carriage, including me.

"The conductor then closed the door and began frequently contacting the subway staff. We waited for rescue.

"Everyone was trying hard to contact their families, friends and others for help. The water outside of the carriage kept rising; you could see it through the window. By around 9 pm, the rear part of the train was submerged. It was the scariest time.

"I stood in the middle of the group. The water level continued to rise, and eventually the level got to people's chests and necks. Some started to cough, some were breathing heavily from a lack of oxygen, and some were shaking. The elderly, children and pregnant women became weaker from staying in the water for a long time.

"Because of the poor reception in the subway tunnel, I could not make phone calls. But the internet was working from time to time. I dared not to tell my parents that I had been trapped, so I only texted my cousins. I started to arrange affairs in case of my death.

"I could sense the fear around me in the carriage. There was some turmoil. Someone tried to smash the window, but other passengers stopped him.

"By the time rescuers showed up, the water was at a very high level outside the window. They broke the door and window in the front and pulled passengers out one by one. Pregnant women were rescued first, then children, then other women.

"We walked through the tunnel and finally arrived at the station. Once we got there, I saw many rescuers, medical professionals and subway employees. People were making phone calls. Beds and chairs were provided.

"I was trapped for about four hours. I did not go home. Instead, I stayed with a friend last night."

Published : July 22, 2021

By : LUO WANGSHU/China Daily/ANN