SHANGHAI – As of Sunday, 19 families of passengers that died in the high-speed train crash in Wenzhou, East China’s Zhejiang province, had agreed to accept compensation.
Relatives of one of the victims of the high-speed train accident at the funeral in Wenzhou in Zhejiang province on Saturday. [Photo / China Daily]
The families will receive 915,000 yuan ($142,000) each, almost double the original offer of 500,000 yuan.
The payment also includes compensation for emotional distress and one-off aid that will help cover living expenses for the victims’ children.
The Ministry of Railways said it is now working on the compensation package for those who were injured in the accident, which left 40 people dead and 191 injured.
It also publicized a list of items to help passengers claim belongings lost in the crash. As of Sunday morning 153 pieces had been claimed, and 76 items remained unclaimed. The ministry said it had paid nearly 40,000 yuan in compensation to passengers missing luggage.
The ministry also tried again to convince the public that it did not try to bury the wreckage to hide evidence.
Lu Dongfu, vice-minister of railways, said in an interview with China Central Television on Sunday that three carriages on the viaduct squeezed together, which resulted in the middle carriage being seriously distorted.
“In order to make space for the cranes, rescuers needed to clear up the area under the viaduct so that the cranes could get in. So rescuers moved the wreckage under the viaduct and dropped it into a pit,” he said. “None of the debris and derailed carriages were buried.”
In response to accusations that the ministry did not prioritize saving lives, Lu said such suggestions were hurtful to the 2,000 railway workers and 3,000 local rescuers who participated in the rescue mission. However, Lu’s words failed to convince many netizens, who continue to urge the ministry to tell truth.
While an investigation to determine the cause of the crash is still under way, the ministry’s initial findings suggest the cause was “serious design flaws” in the signaling equipment.