Date: Sunday, July 31, 2011 01:19 +0900 (JST)
An official of China's Railways Ministry says faulty software at a rail network operation center led to the fatal high-speed train crash in Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province on July 23rd.
The state-run Xinhua news agency aired an interview with the anonymous ministry official on Saturday.
The official said a signaling system near Wenzhou South Station broke down due to a lightning strike, forcing a train to stop. The official said the train was rear-ended by another after starting to move slowly.
The official said a serious flaw in the design of software used to collect data at a railway operation center caused a signaling system to display green, instead of red.
This caused an automatic train control system not to work, allowing the second train to continue running and ram into the first one.
The official also confirmed that the second train should have run ahead of the first, but disruptions in train services changed the order. The official said rail workers failed to deal with the situation properly.
At least 40 people died in the crash. Local residents visited the accident site on Saturday, laying flowers and praying for the souls of the dead.
The Chinese government has nearly doubled the amount of compensation to families of the victims from the sum it initially proposed. It is asking the families to give an answer on whether to accept the compensation by Sunday.
However, the government's apparent efforts to bring an early resolution to the accident are stirring public anger.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that on Friday night, the governing Communist Party re-issued a ban on independent reporting on the accident by domestic media. This apparently shows that the government is desperate to stem discontent among the bereaved families and calm public criticism.