China Lays Blame for Bullet Train Crash on 54 Officials

Bad design, bad management, bad rescue effort
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2011 8:52 AM CST
In this July 24, 2011 file photo, a derailed train car is removed from a bridge as workers clear up the wreckage after a train accident in Wenzhou in east China's Zhejiang province.   (AP Photo, File)
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(Newser) – Forty people died when two bullet trains crashed into each other in China in July—and 54 officials are to blame. The announcement comes via a long-awaited government report on the tragedy, which points to "serious design flaws and major safety risks," and notes errors in equipment procurement and management. Also found to be lacking: the Railways Ministry's rescue efforts. The report backed up previous statements about the cause of the crash, again attributing it to a lightning strike that stalled a bullet train; a sensor failure and mistakes made by train controllers allowed the second train to continue on the same track and slam into the first.

The report points a finger at the former Minister of Railways, who was jailed months before the crash as part of a graft investigation, and the GM of the maker of the track signal, who died of a heart attack while talking to investigators in August. The AP reports that the singling out of a man in jail, a dead man, and a number of already fired mid-level managers indicates that any additional political fallout will be limited. There was no mention of possible criminal penalties.

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