Lightning Strike Responsible for China Bullet Train Disaster

By By Vickie Frantz, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
March 19, 2013, 4:34:30 PM EDT

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In China's Zhejiang Province, six cars from two bullet trains derailed Saturday night and fell off a bridge after one train was reportedly struck by lightning and lost power.

"At the time of the accident, there was a thunderstorm reported 20 miles to the south and another 60 miles to the west, according to available data," said AccuWeather meteorologist Eric Leister.

Train number D3115 was traveling from Hangzhou, the province capital, to the city of Fuzhou, the capital of the Fujian province, when it lost drive and was rear-ended by the bullet train D301, according to a report from the news site Xinhua.

At least 38 people were killed and almost 200 injured in the accident, CNN reported. The first four coaches of the D301 train and the 15th and 16th coaches of the D3115 train went off the line.

The four carriages of the D301 train fell about 65 to 100 feet off the viaduct to the ground. One train carriage landed in a vertical position, resting against the viaduct, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Medical teams responding to the accident scene consisted of staff from Zhejiang No. 1 Hospital, Zhejiang No. 2 Hospital, Zhejiang Provincial People's Hospital and Taizhou Hospital.

Reports on the radio asked Wenzhou residents to donate blood, as supplies are short.

As crews were cleaning the carriages Sunday evening, a firefighter found an unconscious toddler among the rubble. The little girl was taken to a hospital, according to the AP.

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