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Compensation sought from train crash

By Wang Huazhong (China Daily)

08:35, August 06, 2012

The relatives of the people who were killed or injured on a freight railway bridge in Funing county, Hebei province, will enter into difficult negotiations with railway authorities on Monday as they try to obtain compensation for their losses.

A group of gardeners from the village of Qijiazhai were hit by a train at about 5:28 am on Friday after they had decided to go past security fences and walk on the bridge, according to an official report by the regional railway administrator.

Nine of the gardeners on the trek died and four were injured.

"It's hard to assign blame in this case," said a former Party secretary of the village who declined to give his full name.

"Some of them, apparently, were hit by the train. But others were injured because they fell from the trains' momentum. And you just don't know what caused some of them to fall off the (20-meter-high) bridge."

He said the victims' relatives are going through hard times and will find the talks about compensation difficult on Monday.

A publicity official for the Funing county government said on Sunday that the amount of compensation the victims' relatives receive will be determined after a full investigation is conducted.

The official said railway authorities are leading the investigation.

The Taiyuan Railway Administration, which is in charge of the section of the railway, posted a message on its micro blog on Friday saying the villagers had "got past security fences".

It added, "there wasn't enough time for the freight train to stop" and warned the public about the dangers of walking on railways.

The newspaper Beijing News reported that railway police are talking to a watchman at the bridge about the accident.

The survivors said no one was inside a nearby watch post when they got past the fences, which are about 1 meter tall. They said no one tried to stop them from getting on the bridge.

Beijing News reported that the fences' wires had been tampered with.

The watch post stands about 10 meters away from the place where they broke in.

Li said the village had been linked to the outside world chiefly by a road bridge that had run parallel to the railway bridge. It was demolished this year so it could be reconstructed and a temporary path serving the same purpose was built in its stead.

That was recently destroyed by the torrential rainfall. Without the path, residents have had to take a lengthy detour to go to the Funing county seat.

The victims in the accident took the risk of walking on the bridge so they could ride in a vehicle that was waiting for them at the other end, a survivor was quoted by Beijing News as saying.

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