At least four passengers were killed and over 30 injured when strong winds derailed a train in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region early Wednesday, rescuers said.
Eleven bogies of the train were derailed by a strong windstorm around 2 am, soon after it left the Turpan station. The train runs between Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang region, and Aksu, a city in southern Xinjiang.
The accident occurred between Zhenzhuquan station and Hongshanqu station, about 20 to 30 km away from Turpan, railway officials said.
The windstorm had a force of 13, which is more powerful than a hurricane, according to the railway bureau. The mishap occurred near a windmill farm 120 km away from Urumqi. The area is well known for strong winds all the year round.
The Zhenzhuquan station was attacked by a windstorm in April 2001, which derailed 11 cars of a train parked there.
The railway south of the Tianshan Mountains from Turpan to Korla has been closed, Xinhua news agency reported.
"A strong sand storm cracked window panes soon after the train left Turpan, and blew some of the cars off the rail," said a passenger named Su Chuanyi, a local television journalist.
The first rescue team of over 100 people, including doctors and police officers, arrived by 4:30 am. They are now working at the scene, the report said.