Death toll of Henan bridge collapse in question

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 February, 2013, 11:59am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 February, 2013, 2:28pm

The official list of victims who died in a bridge collapse in Henan province is drawing criticism after media reported that the death toll should have been 11, not 10 as given by authorities.

According to a CCTV news report on Tuesday, the list had omitted the death of Shi Yanfei, the driver of a cargo truck that was carrying illegal fireworks when it exploded, leading to the collapse of an elevated highway in Sanmenxia that took several vehicles along with it.

The earliest media reports had put the death toll at 26, but rescuers eventually reduced it to 10. Local media had identified most of the victims by Monday with the youngest being 17 years old and the oldest 51. Eight of the victims on the list were male and two were female.

Shi had reportedly been killed on the spot, but his name had been left off the official tally. According to a picture of his driver’s licence shown on the CCTV segment, he had turned 34 on the day of the accident, February 1.

According to a Xinhua report, an official investigation found “illegal production, loading and transportation” of explosives as the main cause of the explosion.

Netizens criticised Henan authorities for deliberately “shrinking” the list of victims and questioned whether there had been a deliberate cover-up.