Injured Chinese tourists tell stories of support, comfort from both motherland and Laos

Li Jiayao
2019-08-23 11:31:34

By Zhang Jianhua and Phoutthaphone Sirivong

LUANG PRABANG, Laos, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- About 40 km south of the northern Lao tourism hub of Luang Prabang, a tourist bus carrying more than 40 Chinese tourists careened off the road on Monday, leaving 13 people dead and 33 injured including two Lao nationals.

In the wake of the accident, solid support and warm comfort from the motherland and compatriots as well as local people make the injured Chinese feel moved and relieved.

Around 180 km north of the Lao capital Vientiane, a mountain road section, several dozen kilometers long, is regarded as the most risky in the country, winding up and down some 2,000-meter-high mountains.

Almost at every corner of the road, traces of tires can be found due to the constant moves of braking. During rainy season, driving on such a road becomes even more difficult because of water flowing on the road.

The accident occurred just on such a part of the road with the bus falling on the road and hitting on the ground overturned.

"With a loud bang, I knew something was wrong. When I woke up, I was hanging in the air inside the bus with my seat belt. I struggled to unlock the belt. Now I don't even remember how I have climbed out," a woman in her fifties told Xinhua on Tuesday.

"My forehead was bleeding and I thought that's the end and no hopes anymore if things went on like this," said the injured who did not want to be named at the Luang Prabang China-Laos International Hospital. "But in less half an hour, Lao soldiers came and they rushed me to a health center."

Most of the wounded were later transfered to the China-Laos International Hospital with comparatively better treatment in Luang Prabang.

"The Chinese consul general in Luang Prabang and volunteers have come and sent me here. The conditions are better. They re-cleaned the wounds and made a complete suture for me," she said.

"Then our PLA medical team checked our injuries and airlifted the more seriously-injured patients to Vientiane for further treatment. After that, I feel much relieved."

The Chinese People's Libration Army (PLA) medical team, which is in Laos to participate in the "Peace Train-2019" China-Laos humanitarian and medical joint rescue exercise, also joined the search, rescue and treatment operation on receiving information of the accident.

Also, the Chinese companies Sinohydro Bureau 14 and Sinohydro Bureau 3, which are building the China-Laos railway near the accident site, immediately dispatched staff with equipment to the scene.

Many injured passengers told Xinhua that the Chinese engineers tried their best to carry victims out of the bus.

The China Railway No. 8 Engineering Group, which is also building the railway near Luang Prabang, organized blood donation activities for the wounded.

Many local Chinese workers, businessmen and overseas Chinese in Luang Prabang spontaneously sent food and water to the accident site, helped the search and rescue operation, and went to the hospital to act as interpreters and caretakers.

"They are young, just in their twenties and thirties. We are very touched and pleased," Yang Wenwu and Jin Minghua, a injured couple who were still in the hospital, told Xinhua

"Some of them came at midnight, when they knew we were here, bringing water and milk. When they knew we had lost our clothes, they even went to buy some for us."

Jin, in her 50s, was confined to bed. She told Xinhua with tearing eyes: "My kids said they would come to Laos to see me, but I told them it's not necessary now. We will go back after getting well. Some local people have come to the hospital to send us stuffs and donate blood for us. Chinese embassy staff also came to see us and our soldiers provided examinations and treatment ... with our great motherland behind us, we have no fear!"

"The Lao army, police, local government, the Red Cross and the local people actively joined the search and rescue efforts, which fully embodies the spirit of a China-Laos community with shared future. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Lao side," Chinese Ambassador to Laos Jiang Zaidong said Tuesday after visiting the injured in Luang Prabang.

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