Local officials put Chinese train crash toll at 38
Local officials in eastern China's Zheijian Province put the death toll in Saturday's train collision at 38, the Chinese agency Xinhua reported, a day after reports had put the figure at 43.
Three more bodies were recovered at the site Sunday, bringing the number of the dead to 38 as of 1 pm (0500 GMT) Monday, sources with the city government of Wenzhou, where the crash occurred, told Xinhua. But the death tally was not yet final, dpa reported.
Xinhua said 132 injured passengers were still in hospital on Monday, with 12 in critical condition.
Among the dead were two American citizens, the US Embassy in China confirmed Monday.
A staff member with the embassy told Xinhua in a telephone interview that the embassy had contacted the two victims' families.
The accident occurred when high-speed train D301 ploughed into the back of the bullet train D3115 which had stalled on the tracks on a viaduct near Wenzhou after being struck by lightning.
Four carriages were sent plunging some 30 metres, with one of the carriages remaining in a vertical position and two other carriages piled atop each other.
A total of 1,400 passengers were on board the two trains.
The accident has triggered heated debate in China about the safety of the new high-speed railway network that the country has hastily built up.
The railways ministry expressed its confidence in the high-speed trains, but transportation authorities have meanwhile ordered security inspections throughout the country.
In a first consequence of the rail crash, three leading functionaries of the local railway office in Shanghai were dismissed.
China is pursuing ambitious plans to double the size of its high-speed rail network by 2015. With 8,000 kilometres, it is already the world's largest such network