By Staff Reporter | 2011-7-25 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
Excavators move one of the carriages that had fallen off a viaduct onto the ground at the site where two bullet trains collided on Saturday night in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, in east China. A railway ministry spokesman told a news conference last night that 35 people were killed and 192 people injured in the most serious rail accident in China since 2008. Of the injured, 12 people were in a critical condition. The ministry is investigating the cause of the crash. The line is due to reopen tonight.
CHINA yesterday sacked three senior railway officials after a collision between two high-speed trains killed at least 35 people and injured nearly 200 and halted the rail artery linking China's two economic powerhouse regions.
One bright side to the tragedy was the rescue of a toddler from the wreckage, 21 hours after the lethal collision on Saturday night where a bullet train rear-ended another express which lost power following a lightning strike.
It was the country's deadliest rail disaster since 2008.
The power failure knocked out an electronic safety system designed to alert trains about stalled locomotives.
The first four cars of the moving train, the D301 from Beijing to Fuzhou, fell about 15 meters off a viaduct to the ground below. One carriage ended up in a vertical position, leaning against the viaduct. The last two carriages of the stalled train, the D3115 from Hangzhou to Fuzhou, also derailed.
Rescuers had moved all the derailed carriages away from the crash site by last night.
As rescue teams and firefighters with excavators searched for survivors, a girl, thought to be between two and three years old was pulled alive from the wreckage at about 5:40pm yesterday.
The toddler, Xiang Weiyi, a resident from Wenzhou City, was discovered in a very thin gap, according to media reports.
It was not known how many people were on the trains, which collided on a bridge near the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province.
Authorities sacked Long Jing, head of the Shanghai railway bureau, his deputy He Shengli and the bureau's Party chief Li Jia, the Ministry of Railways said on its website.
The railway section of the crash site is under the supervision of the Shanghai railway bureau.
The three will "also be subject to investigation," the statement added.
Doctors were treating 132 people in 11 hospitals and 52 people who suffered slight injuries had been discharged, ministry spokesman Wang Yongping said last night.
Two foreigners died in the accident, including a woman in her 20s and an American Chinese surnamed Cao. Twelve of the injured are in a critical condition.
"China's high-speed train is advanced and qualified. We have confidence in it," Wang said.
The railway was due to reopen at 6pm yesterday but that was pushed back to 6pm today.
The railway links Shanghai with Shenzhen, in south China's Guangdong Province.
In 2008, an express train from Beijing to the eastern coastal city of Qingdao derailed and collided with another train, killing 72 and injuring 416 people.
China's rail network has been hit by a series of scandals. Three railway officials have been investigated for corruption this year,.
In February, Liu Zhijun was sacked as railway minister for "serious disciplinary violations."
He led the sector's investment drive over the past decade.