China blames speeding for train derailment, crash

Other News Materials 29 April 2008 10:43 (UTC +04:00)

Chinese authorities Tuesday said high speed - in excess of 50 kilometres over the limit - caused a passenger train to derail in the country's worst train crash in more than a decade, killing 70 people and injuring more than 416 passengers.

The passenger train from Beijing was traveling 131 kilometres an hour in a section where the speed limit was 80 kph when it crashed into another train in eastern China on Monday, according to Xinhua news agency, citing the panel headed by the central government's work safety administration.

The passenger train that was hit was travelling from Yantai in Shandong to Xuzhou in neighbouring Jiangsu province. At least 12 cars from both trains derailed, dpa reported.

It was feared the death toll would rise past 70 as dozens of the injured were reported to be in critical condition.

The Qingdao-Jinan rail line reopened to traffic early on Tuesday morning, after more than 20 hours of interruption that left thousands stranded.

The ageing stretch of the rail line between Qingdao, the site of the Olympics sailing competition, and Jinan that is to be taken out of service before the August Olympic Games. A new high-speed line from Beijing to Qingdao is to be completed in May.

The crash was the second in Shandong this year after a high-speed train ran over a work crew in January, killing 18 of the workers and injuring nine.