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62 injured in accident on Hong Kong light railway

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Over 60 people were injured when a two-car train derailed on Hong Kong's light railway in the north of the city, throwing passengers onto the floor, police said Friday.

Groups of passengers sat dazed on the pavement near where the train derailed, some bleeding and being treated by medics. Others were taken away on stretchers by dozens of paramedics and firefighters, television news footage showed.

"It was driving too fast," a female passenger told Cable TV News adding that the train lost control when it was making a turn.

"It was very chaotic inside the train, there was some blood," she said.

"All the passengers fell flat on the floor," a young boy told the channel.

"It was like a ball game where everybody was bouncing around...we didn't even know what happened and then we all fell onto the floor," another passenger told the channel.

Footage showed the derailed train with its front car angled to one side with a smashed windscreen.

Police said the incident happened at 4.17 pm (0817 GMT) at the Tong Fong Tsuen stop in the rural Tin Shui Wai district of the city and said that 62 people had been injured.

The fire department said that four people had been seriously injured while most others suffered sprains and cuts from the collision.

"The car in the front was pushed upwards by the car at the back and both cars were derailed," Fire Department spokesman Ng Tsz-yuen told media at the scene of the accident.

"In the first car's driver seat, the driver was stuck in the car, because the door to the driver's compartment was very damaged, so he couldn't get out," Ng said, adding that he was later rescued with no serious injuries.

The Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTR) which runs the light rail suspended the service on multiple lines due to the "serious incident".

The Hong Kong Light Railway is part of the city's complex public transport system of trams, buses and underground metros.

The light rail links 68 stops along 36 kilometres (22 miles) of track in the northwestern New Territories, a semi-rural region in the north of Hong Kong.

Its single-decker cars, which can take around 200 passengers, are connected to overhead electric cables and run along tracks on the streets which also branch off into the surrounding countryside.

Accidents are rare on the southern Chinese city's public transport system, which it promotes as one of the best infrastructures in the world.

But the safety of Hong Kong's waterways has remained under scrutiny since 39 people were killed when a high-speed ferry and a pleasure boat crashed.

It was the deadliest maritime accident in the territory since 1971, when a Hong Kong-Macau ferry sank during a typhoon leaving 88 people dead.

A report into the incident near Lamma Island found a "litany of errors" contributed to the crash and slammed the city's marine department for "systemic failings" in safety standards.

In November two chefs who worked at top British chef Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck restaurant were killed in Hong Kong when their taxi was crushed between two buses.

The following month, 24 people were injured, four seriously, after a bus collided with a coach near Hong Kong International Airport.

In 2003, 21 people were killed when a truck hit a bus sending it 30 metres from a flyover in the Tuen Mun district of the city in 2003.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130517/62-injured-accident-hong-kong-light-railway