This week has seen heavy rain in Zhengzhou, a city in central China. In one hour on Tuesday, the city received the equivalent of one-third of its annual average rainfall.
According to officials, the death toll in Henan Province has surpassed 50. However, one local who narrowly escaped death after escaping from a submerged subway train on July 20 predicts a far higher number.
Wang Jun, writing under an alias, told The Epoch Times’ Chinese-language edition about his and other passengers’ experiences on July 20.
Wang was among the hundreds of people who boarded Line 5 that evening. He recalls that the train left the station shortly after 5:00 p.m., but it would be hours before he could get off.
“The first three or four cars were nearly full,” Wang explained. The subway moves from one station to the next, stopping at each location for extended periods of time.
The subway came to a complete stop in the tunnel after leaving Beach Temple Station. Water began to seep into the train at that point.
“The train conductor opened all the doors and let us out in the hope that we could walk [out of the tunnel] along a small path by the tunnel wall,” Wang explained. “After a while of walking in the tunnel, we discovered that we couldn’t get out, so we all went back into the train and waited. We were trapped. ”
He showed a video of people wading through water to get back into a subway cart. All they could do was watch as water rose from their feet, knees, and, by 8 p.m., their chests.
Wang described the next two hours as “the longest and most dangerous two hours of his life.”
As the flood slowly submerged them, passengers gripped the handrails. The thinning air was on top of the rising water.
“At first, we didn’t panic,” Wang explained, “but later, there wasn’t enough air, and many people couldn’t breathe.”Then we all got nervous.”
They worked hard to break the windows in order to get more air. In an emergency, most Chinese public transportation vehicles are equipped with small, metal-tipped hammers to shatter windows. Those hammers were nowhere to be found on this subway car.
Wang stated that the passengers in his car used fire extinguishers to smash open the windows, allowing more breathable air in. However, the water level continued to rise.
Not long after, the power went out, as did the lights. As a result, they waited in the dark.
Finally, assistance arrived. When rescuers arrived, the water surrounding the train began to drain. The passengers exited and made their way to safety.
Wang was safely out of harm’s way by 10:00 p.m. Not everyone, however, was so fortunate. He reported seeing seven or eight people on the subway station platform and several more in the tunnel.
“I finally made it and made it out alive,” Wang said, “but it’s so sad that a dozen people didn’t.” According to the regime, 12 people died as a result of the subway flooding.