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Train Driver Fired for Drunk Driving

July 28, 2005

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) _ A drunk Vietnamese train driver who fell sound asleep on the job, leaving his cargo train to barrel unmanned down the tracks, has been fired, an official said Thursday.

Vu Kim Tien, 45, was alone on the runaway train as it chugged the more than six miles to the next station on Saturday. He had fallen asleep after drinking alcohol during a break, said Tran Tan Bao, deputy director of Ha Lao Locomotive Enterprise in northern Yen Bai province, 112 miles northwest of Hanoi.

Officials at several railway stations along the track were alerted and all other trains stopped after Tien’s locomotive took off without clearance, he said.

Officials tried shouting into the two carriages as the train passed along the tracks, but to no avail, he said.

Authorities at the next stop then made a lot of noise near the train, which woke Tien up.

He was able to stop the train and no one was injured in the incident, Bao said.

Tien was fired Tuesday, ending a 20-year career that had no other blemishes, he said.

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