China orders probe into deadly bullet trains crash

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 22:17

Beijing: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday
ordered a "swift, open and transparent" probe into the deadly
crash of two bullet trains that left at least 39 people dead
and sparked unprecedented nationwide criticism.

"Great importance must be attached to finding out the
facts and judging responsibility in accordance with the
country`s laws and regulations," Wen told a cabinet meeting
today.

Unswerving efforts should be made to save those who
were injured in the crash, he said, according to an official
statement.

Wen offered his "deep condolences" to the victims and
their families and called for efforts to confirm the death
toll, identify the victims and provide proper compensation.

The cabinet has also decided to "take resolute steps
to enhance safety". A nationwide campaign will be launched to
improve work safety, focusing on areas such as transportation,
coal mining, construction and the hazardous chemical industry.

Chinese railway said 39 people were killed and 192
others were injured but millions of micro bloggers and Chinese
official media raised searching questions about the toll as
three bogies fell down bridge while one hung along
precariously.

The crash took place when a bullet train travelling at
the speed of over 200 kmph crashed into the rare of another
stuck on a high bridge after loosing power after it was hit by
lightening.

Criticism was levelled against the way the officials
covered the damaged compartments and presence of several earth
diggers at the scene creating suspicion that hard evidence was
being concealed.

The railways also announced a compensation of five
million Yuan (about USD 77000) for those killed in the crash.

An attempt by the Chinese railway ministry spokesman
to clarify issues at a press conference proved futile as he
struggled to answer hostile and searching questions from the
media on the crash.

According to the Beijing News, police have denied
claims that the accident was caused by a bug in the control
system software and that two programmers had been arrested as
a result.

The investigation was expected to throw light on all
aspects of the crash which was the first since the bullet
trains were launched in 2007.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 22:17

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