Ferrari riddle deepens - three in car, but none is owner

Three men had taken another car to its owner when they crashed on their way home

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 February, 2014, 4:22am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 February, 2014, 4:22am

None of the three men riding in the Ferrari 458 that crashed and disintegrated near Beijing Capital International Airport early on Thursday owned the car, but were returning home after a car delivery assignment, a local newspaper reported yesterday, citing family and friends.

The Legal Evening News reported that the 23-year-old driver of the 5.5 million yuan (HK$7 million) Ferrari died in the accident. The report said all three men came from ordinary families, and were driving a friend's car, citing unnamed sources.

The South China Morning Post tried to ask police and Ferrari China's agent who owned the car - and why it was being driven at 3.30am when the accident occurred - but received no reply.

One of the injured, surnamed Deng, had recently left the military, his mother told the Beijing Times. He recently found a job as a driver, and "was with his close friends" when the accident happened, his mother added.

The three men were originally driving two cars, one of which they delivered to its owner, his friend said. The three made the return trip squeezed into the two-seat sports car, with two sitting in the passenger seat. Deng suffering head injuries and remained unconscious in hospital in a northern suburb of Beijing.

The other injured passenger, surnamed Shi, was being treated for bruised lungs at a hospital near the city centre. Shi, who appeared to be in his 20s, was lying in bed, his face showing cuts and bruises, when visited by the Post. He was talking to several young and well-groomed visitors who refused to be interviewed.

The Legal Evening News reported that the Ferrari was being driven at nearly 300 km/h along a stretch of expressway with a 120 km/h speed limit. Beijing traffic authorities said none of the three men tested positive for alcohol.

The accident raised questions online about whether the three men came from privileged families. A similar crash two years ago - also involving a Ferrari 458 - left dead the son of a close ally of then president Hu Jintao .

That crash claimed the life of Ling Gu , the 23-year-old son of Ling Jihua , a top aide to Hu. Two young women passengers in the car were seriously injured. Ling's attempts to cover up the accident eventually led to him being sidelined in a leadership reshuffle later that year.