Monday, 25 July 2011

Tragedy Goes Off the Rails

Workers seem to be disturbing the accident site -- under whose orders?

The pictures of the high-speed train collision in Wenzhou are shocking -- one train on an overpass, the front of it smashed, and another in front hit so hard by the impact that the other carriages fell off. One is even on leaning against the overpass having fallen head first.
So far 43 people are dead, at least 210 injured. Two Americans are among the dead.
The accident happened Saturday evening around 8:30pm when a southbound train crashed into the rear of another train, both heading to Fuzhou. At first rail ministry spokesman Wang Yongping blamed the incident on "equipment failure caused by lightning strike". Witnesses confirm there was heavy lightning over the area, which may have caused the second train to lose power.

Someone should have alerted the first train to stop or if there was a power failure, shouldn't that train have lost power too?
The government has already sacked three senior railway officials and ordered an "urgent overhaul" of national rail safety.
But the Chinese don't believe the government has come clean on what's really going on.
There are reports from Phoenix TV and pictures on Sina Weibo that work crew were tampering the accident site using backhoes to bury some of the carriages.
According to the railway ministry, the trains contained valuable national technology and could not be left out in the open in case it fell into the wrong hands.
This is outrageous when an accident site should be left as it is so that investigators can figure out exactly how and why the trains crashed so that this will not happen again in the future. But no, the country's national technology is at stake -- or perhaps it wants to hide what foreign companies have wondered all along -- that their technology was stolen.
It sounds like someone is trying desperately to cover up something.
The horrible accident proves once again China's ambitions to have a high-speed rail network is faltering shortly after it began. The new Beijing-Shanghai high-speed link has had extensive stoppages that were also blamed by lightning strikes. Also several months ago there were reports that low-grade ash was used to build the rails as there wasn't enough high-grade ash available on the market.
If this ends up being one of the reasons why the accident happened, corruption will be to blame. And more people will be at the mercy of airline companies.
One wonders if the government is genuinely interested in finding the truth to what really happened.
The railway is the lifeblood of China; it is what connects the country together with over 8,000 kilometres of track. The majority of people cannot afford to take planes, but also these trains pass through remote areas. Which is why it is critical that these trains and rail lines be safe.
One would think safety would be of the utmost priority in transport, but right now it appears pride goes before the welfare of the passengers.
Chinese officials don't seem to realize they are playing God with their carelessness and greed. Does that sound like a responsible superpower to you?

1 comment:

  1. china really need to reflect on safety in public transport. don't just crave for speed and grossly pursuits.