Chinese in shock as subway floods after heaviest rains in 1,000 years

Zhengzhou is hit by heaviest rains in 1,000 years; at least 12 people killed in subway

BEIJING : A manicured hand touches the train carriage window as a brown swirl of flood waters squeezes up against the tunnel outside - one of many scenes of desperation shared yesterday across a stunned Chinese social media.

At least 12 people died and five others were injured in the subway flood, according to city authorities, as water coursed below ground on Tuesday evening in Zhengzhou city in central China's Henan province.

The provincial capitalwas drenched by what weather experts said were the heaviest rains for 1,000 years.

Amid torrential rains since the weekend, the death toll rose to at least 25 yesterday with four residents of Gongyi reported dead, according to local media.

The city - located by the banks of the Yellow River, like Zhengzhou - has suffered widespread collapse of homes and structures from the rains.

About 100,000 people in Zhengzhou were evacuated and thousands in Henan have been displaced.

Meanwhile, social media platform Weibo and local media outlets carried fragments of the horror - video posts seemingly made as a final testimony - of rising water inside carriages as lights went out on Zhengzhou's Line Five during the rush hour.

Videos showed platforms submerged by a muddy deluge, while inside commuters - some bemused, others terrified - stood as the water rose ominously around, forcing parents to hold up their children.

One video showed a woman's hand with painted nails, gently pushing at the carriage window, a stirring sign of incredulity at the surging water level outside - a moment of dread before the inevitable breach of the carriage doors.

One user on Weibo recounted being forced back into a carriage after failed attempts to evacuate.

"In the half hour that followed, the water level became higher and higher inside the train, from our ankles to our knees to our necks. The power went out. Half an hour later, it got hard to breathe."

Suddenly, the glass was smashed by rescuers, who state media said also cut into the stricken carriages from above to pull the passengers out to safety.

More 500 people were pulled to safety, Zhengzhou city authorities said. - AFP, REUTERS