3 dead, 63 hurt in central China train collision

/ Source: The Associated Press

Two passenger trains collided Monday, derailing cars, crushing nearby homes and killing three people, Chinese state media and an official said.

The pre-dawn crash, which injured 63, occurred in Hunan province when a train going from the provincial capital Changsha to the southern city of Shenzhen collided with another Shenzhen-bound train, state television said.

The China Central Television newscast showed a tangle of red, white and blue train cars on their sides at the station in Chenzhou, where the collision occurred at 2:34 a.m. (1834 GMT Sunday). Seats were ripped from the floor of the train cars, and the ground around the accident was littered with plastic bottles and scraps of paper.

The official Xinhua News Agency said a woman and her son were killed when a derailed train car slammed into their home. Xinhua did not said how the third person was killed.

An official at the railway ministry said the cause was under investigation. He refused to give his name, a common practice among Chinese authorities.

Telephone calls to the Chenzhou station, the city's government offices and main hospital all rang unanswered.

Last year, 72 people were killed and hundreds were injured when a high-speed passenger train jumped its tracks and slammed into another in eastern Shandong province.

The accident was the worst train crash in China since 1997, when 126 were killed in Hunan, the China Daily newspaper reported last year, citing Xinhua.