Flowers are laid at the scene of the fatal train collision in Wenzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, July 29, 2011. A large amount of people arrived at the scene Friday to mourn for victims of the accident on July 23. Friday is the seventh day since the disaster, a day the Chinese believe the dead would revisit their families before leaving for good. (Xinhua/Wang Dingchang)
by Xinhua writers Wang Xiuqiong, Wang Yaguang and Chen Yongrong
BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) -- An explanation by railway authorities for last Saturday's deadly high-speed train crash has raised even more public doubts about what had actually happened to the accident and to the government investigation itself.
A high-speed train rammed into a stalled train near the city of Wenzhou in east China's Zhejiang Province on Saturday, leaving 40 people dead and 191 injured. The accident was caused by "serious design flaws" in railway signaling equipment, an official from the Shanghai Railway Bureau said Thursday morning.
A lightning strike triggered the malfunction, which resulted in a green alert light failing to turn red, leaving railway personnel unaware of the stalled train, the official said.
The Beijing National Railway Research and Design Institute of Signal and Communication Co. (CRSCD), which was responsible for designing and building the signaling system, has posted an apology letter on its website, offering condolences and promising to "shoulder any due punishments that may result from the investigation."
However, the bare-bones explanation has done little to assuage the public's concerns.
The Beijing Youth Daily newspaper posed several as-yet unanswered questions in a Friday report on the accident. "Why was such seriously flawed equipment in use for nearly two years without being detected? Why was it installed in as many as 76 rail stations across the country? Are there other problems with the railway apart from equipment flaws?" the report asked.
The CRSCD held a press conference Thursday afternoon, during which it failed to answer many of the questions posed by journalists. Tian Zhenhui, a company official, avoided taking direct responsibility for the accident at the conference. Pressed by reporters, she said the company apologized only because it helped to build the railway.
She refused to specify which pieces of equipment failed, what other lines the equipment is installed on and how the equipment managed to pass tests and quality checks before being installed.