Train cars fall into river, 4 confirmed dead in mudslide as China struggles with summer storms

BEIJING (AP) — China struggled to cope with widespread storms that left dozens missing and presumed dead Thursday as rescuers cleaned up a mudslide-stricken town, while two passenger train cars plunged into a river after crossing a flood-damaged bridge.

Rescue workers found four bodies in Puladi township of southwest China's Yunnan province, a day after a wall of mud crashed through the mountain community, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Rains expected over the next few days would likely hamper efforts to find 88 people still listed as missing.

It was just the latest landslide to strike China in a summer that has been plagued by deadly rains and flooding. The worst recent landslide was on Aug. 8 in Zhouqu of Gansu province, where more than 1,300 were killed and about 400 people remain missing.

In southwestern China, authorities managed to evacuate all passengers from two train cars that dangled for several minutes over a muddy, rushing river before falling into the water.

The train was traveling in Guanghan city of Sichuan province when it began shaking and then stopped moving, dining car supervisor Wang Baoning told China Central Television. Floodwaters had loosened piers on the Shitingjiang bridge, Xinhua said.

The two cars were hanging over the water in a "V'' shape, but were still connected to the adjacent carriages, Wang said. It took more than 10 minutes to evacuate passengers from the cars, he said.

"Less than two minutes later, one carriage fell into the river. About 10 minutes after that, the other one fell in too," he said. There were no fatalities.

The train cars were swept a short distance downstream and were almost completely submerged, trapped against the base of another bridge, CCTV footage showed.

The train was traveling from Xi'an in northwestern Shaanxi province to Kunming in southwestern Yunnan province.

Floods and landslides across China in recent months that have left hundreds dead and washed away settlements in some parts of the country. The storms have caused tens of billions of dollars in damage.