Cargo ship crash kills woman
(08.25.2011)

Cargo ship crash kills woman

A vessel sits partway onto the dock after a cargo ship crashed into several barges at a harbor on the Huangpu River in the Pudong New Area yesterday.

A large, runaway cargo ship crashed into several barges docked at a harbor yesterday in Pudong, killing a woman and sinking a small vessel.

The cargo ship, "Zhong Xing 18," ran into the barges at the Zhonghua Zhongzhan Harbor near the Dongjiadu ferry route along the Huangpu River at 9:12am, local maritime safety authorities said.

The maritime authorities blamed unspecified mechanical problems for the accident and were holding the captain of the cargo ship as part of their investigation. It could not be learned how many people were aboard the cargo ship or if any of them were injured.

One barge sank from the impact and a 60-year-old woman was crushed to death as she tried to run for her life, said witnesses. Another vessel was left crashed onto the dock with half of its body on the ground.

"It's a horrible scene," said Hu Shanxing, a boat owner who suffered injuries to his left leg, while lying on his damaged vessel after the crash.

Hu was cooking onboard his boat as the cargo ship, riding upstream and hundreds of meters from the Nanpu Brige, hit his vessel and four others docked side by side.

Hu's boat was left damaged and with its contents scattered about, including unfinished fried vegetables in a wok.

"I tried to save my vessel and look for my wife," said Hu, whose wife had been talking with others, including the 60-year-old woman, while onboard.

The woman, Zhu Yunfang, began to run from deck to deck toward the dock with others as they saw the impending collision, witnesses said.

But Zhu was hit and got crushed by parts of a cabinet in one vessel, which later sank on the impact.

"She was so close to the land," said Hu's wife, sobbing. "Only a few steps away."

Zhu's body was lifted from the water about 10am.

"What can I do now?" said Shi Jingkang, Zhu's husband. "If only she stayed on our own barge."

Shi was watching TV in their vessel, which was docked far away and not affected, while his wife had gone out to chat with people on other boats. Looking at the river, Shi kept smoking and did not take some buns and a bottle of water offered by others.

A vessel owner, surnamed Yi, said the power of the collision was so great that "three out of four cables onboard" his boat broke even though his vessel was not directly hit.

Shi, Hu and other barge owners - more than 10 of them - were hired about eight months ago to carry silt dredged from the bottom of Suzhou Creek.

The cargo ship is some four to five times the size of the 300-ton-barges.

The dock became tense again around noon when Zhu's daughter rushed to the scene from Nantong in neighboring Jiangsu Province.

"How can you tell me my mother was gone in the morning!" cried out the daughter. "I just had dinner with her the night before on this dock."

She and her father were restricted at the condoned-off site from getting any closer.