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
China Lays Blame for Bullet Train Crash on 54 Officials
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)

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. (Read more China stories.)

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