Investigators meet at site of train crash

WENZHOU, Zhejiang – The State Council’s special investigation team carried out its first onsite meeting on Tuesday to analyze the causes behind a deadly crash that killed at least 39 and injured 192 others, the Ministry of Railways said in a news release.

 The accident occurred on Saturday at around 8:30 pm when a bullet train rammed into the back of a stalled train in Wenzhou, causing six carriages to derail, four of which fell off a 15-meter-high viaduct.

The State Council’s special team also decided to transport the wreckage to Wenzhou West Railway Station for further investigation, a step many netizens had called for.

As a result, the oncoming bullet train’s front section, which was already buried onsite as railway authorities had ordered, was excavated on Monday night. It and other damaged carriages, covered in plastic sheeting, were shipped away by trucks.

There had been public disquiet at the decision to bury some of the wreckage before the cause of the crash had been determined.

Some members of the public had demanded that the wreckage should be available for investigation and urged the government to thoroughly probe the causes of the crash.

“This is a good step,” said columnist and Internet commentator Lu Guoping on his micro blog. Lu also called for a serious investigation and a comprehensive report.

On Tuesday, police released the names of 28 of the dead along with places of residence and identity card numbers. Compensation payments have also begun.

The partial list of the dead included four teenagers under 18 and two foreigners – Liguori Assunta, an Italian woman and Cao Erxing, a US citizen of Chinese origin.

The death of a third foreigner was confirmed on Monday.

An official with Zhejiang’s Department of Foreign Affairs told China Daily on the phone that the police are still trying to confirm the foreigner’s identity. Reports suggest that the foreigner may be a US citizen of Chinese origin.

Of the 26 Chinese nationals on the list, 17 came from Zhejiang and six from Fujian. The three others came from Anhui, Henan and Tianjin.

All the 39 bodies retrieved from the crash site have been claimed by relatives, Xinhua News Agency quoted sources from the Wenzhou government as saying on Tuesday.

But further DNA tests will be carried out to confirm identities, a Wenzhou government spokesman said.

Local officials have formed 57 teams to talk with victims’ families and they hope to reach compensation agreements in seven to 10 days, an official website run by Wenzhou Daily, www.66wz.com, reported on Tuesday.

The family of Lin Yan, a 29-year-old man from Fujian province, accepted compensation of 500,000 yuan ($77,500), including a payment for promptly agreeing to the compensation.

Compensation is made up of two parts. The first part is a basic 172,000 yuan plus 200,000 yuan insurance. This is standard and does not vary. The other part of the compensation package takes into account transport costs for the victim’s family to Wenzhou, funeral costs and family circumstances. The two parts will not exceed 450,000 yuan.

However, if the victim’s family promptly accepts the settlement plan there will be an additional payment of more than 10,000 yuan.

He Bing, vice-dean of the law school at China University of Political Science and Law, proposed on his micro blog that a monument should be built to commemorate the people who died. About 4,000 people on their sina.com micro blogs welcomed He’s proposal.

“Life needs respect; families need a place to recall the departed; a lesson needs to be learned and the shame shall not be forgotten,” He wrote on his micro blog.

Wang Jingqiong contributed to this story.

Source: China Daily

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