China fires railway officers over train crash

July 25th, 2011 - 1:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, July 25 (IANS) Chinese government has sacked three senior railway officials following the Saturday-night head-on crash on its high-speed rail network.

The train crash occurred after one of China’s first-generation bullet trains was struck by lightning, causing it to lose power and grind to a halt.

The accident killed 43 people and left several as injured in less than a month after a $34 billion flagship line was launched. About 210 passengers are receiving medical treatment in hospital.

Rescuers, meanwhile, also pulled a four-year-old out of the wreckage alive after 21 hours of the accident.

The toll in the first major accident on China’s hugely ambitious high-speed rail network is expected to rise, Daily Telegraph reported.

The Chinese government ordered an emergency overhaul of safety measures across the network and both Hu Jintao, the Chinese president, and Wen Jiabao, the premier, have called for “all-out efforts” to rescue the victims of the crash.

Long Jing, head of the Shanghai Railway Bureau, Li Jia, head of the Shanghai railway bureau’s committee of the Communist Party of China, and deputy chief of the bureau He Shengli have been dismissed from office.

Passengers reported that the train’s lights went out and that it stood still for 25 minutes.

It looks the network’s safety signalling system also failed, and a second bullet train hit the first one from behind, derailing six carriages and sending two of them off the side of the elevated tracks to fall 60ft to the ground below.

Both of the toppled coaches were reported to have been full, with around 200 passengers inside.

China claims that its high-speed trains are the most advanced and the safest in the world, and is actively trying to sell them to other countries.

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