Emergency workers in eastern China on Sunday rescued a toddler from the wreck of a high-speed train, nearly a full day after a collision that killed at least 35 people and injured more than 200 others south of Shanghai.
The rescue of the four-year-old boy came about 21 hours after a southbound bullet train, traveling between the cities of Hangzhou and Wenzhou, was disabled by a lighting strike on a bridge and a second high-speed train bound for the city of Fuzhou from Beijing plowed into the stalled streamliner.
Chinese television showed a mangled passenger car hanging from the bridge and a second smashed car on the ground below.
Authorities moved quickly to curb public anger at the wreck, with Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang at the scene to oversee rescue operations. Official Chinese media reported the firing of three senior railway officials.
China has spent billions of dollars to connect its cities with high-speed rail, but this is the second time in recent weeks a storm has been blamed for causing problems.
Earlier this month, a storm-induced power failure caused a 90-minute delay on the new Beijing-to-Shanghai line.
Officials opened the line late last month with great fanfare. The Ministry of Railway’s chief engineer, He Hua Wu, told reporters taking the inaugural trip that the new rail link is the “pride of China and Chinese people.” The 1,300-kilometer trip between China’s capital and its financial hub takes less than five hours.
Critics say the multi-billion-dollar high-speed rail plan is too expensive for a country where millions of people live in poverty, and that the lines are being built primarily to boost Beijing’s prestige.