The images are cold in the back.
At least 16 people have died in China, trapped in the subway after torrential rains in the center of the country.
The metropolis of Zhengzhou, which has more than 10 million inhabitants, saw part of its subway network swallowed up on Tuesday at rush hour, as torrents of mud on the surface flooded the arteries of the provincial capital of Henan.
Videos of dumbfounded passengers quickly made the rounds on social media and local media headlines.
Hard to breathe
"Water was escaping from the cracks in the door [of a subway train], all the passengers who could then stood on the seats," testified a passenger on the Weibo social network, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
The woman was returning home at around 5 p.m. (9 a.m. GMT) on Tuesday when her metro suddenly stopped between two stations near the city center, on line 5.
Another internet user says he tried to run away.
“Inside, the water was rising more and more.
The water was up to our necks, ”he recalls.
And the passenger clarified that after half an hour "it was becoming difficult to breathe".
The "current too strong to swim"
Several testimonies report that panic seized the passengers stuck in different trainsets.
Bathing in a torrent of muddy water, parents try as best they can to protect their children by holding them high in their arms.
In the subway.
- Zhulin Zhang (@ZhangZhulin) July 20, 2021
But suddenly, it's deliverance.
Rescuers smash windows and passengers are taken out through the roofs of the cars, according to public television CCTV.
Once out of the cars, users had to make their way to reach an exit.
All in the dark, with the electricity cut.
In submerged stations, "the current was too strong to swim", explained on public television a survivor named Zhang "The people around me were clinging to the railings, there were about ten of us" trying to leave the station "with water up to your shoulders".
According to Chinese authorities, the rains in the region were the heaviest on record since the weather phenomena were compiled 60 years ago.