TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Amid what are being described as "once in a thousand years" torrential rains, videos surfaced on Tuesday (July 20) showing residents of Zhengzhou in China's Henan Province on the verge of drowning in the city's subway system.
Since Monday (July 19), central Henan has been hammered with torrential rains. By Tuesday, Zhengzhou's drainage systems were completely overwhelmed, with streets and subways overrun with floodwaters.
That evening, harrowing videos of passengers trapped in subway cars on Line 5, with water rapidly rising to their chests, began to pour in on Chinese social media. In one video posted by RFA, the lights of the train had gone out and the water level could be seen to have reached the shoulders of passengers as they tried to call for help on their phones.
A female passenger surnamed Li (李) who posted an account of the ordeal said that at 6:50 p.m. on Tuesday, the train suddenly stopped and water started to pour in. She said that at first, no one seemed to care, but when the water started to reach the height of the seats, people began to get nervous.
About half an hour later, she said, the water had reached the shoulders and necks of some passengers. By this point, oxygen in the carriage was starting to diminish, and passengers had become agitated and taken out their phones to shoot footage of the scene and call for help, she added.
Li said that it was not until 8:10 p.m. that firefighters managed to drill holes in the roof of the car and rescue the stranded passengers one at a time. Videos and photos taken in the aftermath showed a number of lifeless bodies strewn about on the subway platform.
On Wednesday (July 21), the Zhengzhou People's Government announced that 12 people had died and five had suffered injuries on the Zhengzhou Metro Line 5. It reported that more than 500 people had been evacuated from the scene.
Gut-wrenching: this girl stuck on flooded Metro said: "The water outside has risen to this level...My cellphone will be out of battery soon...I don't know if this will be my last Wechat post." #Henan #zhengzhou #flood #china #河南 #郑州 #洪水 #最后一条微信 pic.twitter.com/dKlQ3j47S1— Not Picking Quarrels Panda (@voiceofchinatv) July 20, 2021
可能是河南的井盖为了防盗都焊死了，所以没有排水功能 pic.twitter.com/HcbgSmqLbW— 円香 (@Madoka_721) July 20, 2021
【河南郑州暴雨成灾】— 自由亚洲电台 (@RFA_Chinese) July 20, 2021