China Train Crash Was Avoidable: Safety Agency

Bloomberg reports on a government investigation that shows the high-speed train crash in Wenzhou “could have been avoided”:

The crash exposed faults in the design of the signaling system that was blamed for the accident as well as shortcomings in emergency and safety-management systems, Huang Yi, a spokesman for the State Administration of Work Safety, said in an interview yesterday with state-run Xinhua News Agency. He didn’t elaborate on the flaws identified.

“The accident should not have happened,” Huang said. “It could have been avoided and prevented.”

The agency, due to complete an investigation into the crash next month, will find the people and businesses responsible, Huang said. China has also recalled trains, pared services and slowed high-speed locomotives to boost safety following the accident.

“The accident and the measures taken in the aftermath are a crushing blow to China’s rail sector,” said James Chung, an analyst with Masterlink Securities in Shanghai. “But, of course, the most important thing for China is to avoid such tragedy happening again.”

Almost simultaneously, an official with a signaling company that had taken responsibility for the crash died of an apparent heart attack, the Wall Street Journal reports:

China Railway Signal & Communication Corp. on Tuesday identified the deceased executive as Ma Cheng and said he died Monday “during a safety inspection in Shenzhen.”

A spokesman for the state-owned company couldn’t be reached to comment.

Hours after the July 23 crash that killed 40 people, government inspectors began pointing to flawed signaling as the explanation for why a speeding train on a two-year-old track rammed the tail of a nearly stationary train outside the eastern city of Wenzhou.

Read more about the Wenzhou train crash via CDT.

August 23, 2011 10:40 PM
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