YouTube and the Internet at large has become a platform for videos of various subjects to be disseminated throughout the world, even videos from areas of the world where there are tight controls over what is permitted from within a nation's borders. One such video, footage of the aftermath of the recent bullet train crash in China, was posted shortly after the collision. And as horrific as the images in the video appear, there is a possibility that they point to something even more disturbing, like a government cover-up.
The video hit the Internet and, although it was only available for viewing for less than a day, it received over 1.2 million views, according to The Telegraph.
The uncensored footage, as described by the British paper, showed what appeared to be bodies falling from damaged carriages (passenger cars). The trains collided on an elevated track in Wenzhou, a city in Zhejiang province, on Saturday after a lightning strike stalled one train and a second crashed into the rear of the immobile vehicle.
The Telegraph reported that at least 43 people died in the crash, while another 210 suffered injuries, although the Wall Street Journal reported that a U. S. Embassy spokesman put the number of dead at 39, the number of injured at 192.
The footage shows one body fall from a height of about 60 feet as a crane attempted to remove the car from the rails, according to the report. What sounds like a scream can be heard in the background. A second body appears to fall from a window as a mechanical earth mover pushes the passenger car into a ditch.
The day after the collision, earth movers dug a ditch and began burying two of the wrecked passenger cars, prompting some to accuse the government of attempting to cover up the bullet train crash, a program that was already under fire for corruption and accusations that the railway lines were unsafe.
Locals question the veracity of government claims that state that an investigation into the matter has been launched. Some ask how an effective investigation can be conducted if evidence of the crash is being buried. The viral video, which is no longer available (removed ostensibly for containing offensive material), seems to support the contention, not to mention displaying a certain callousness on the part of the government in its haste to put the bullet train crash in the past.
In answer to public concerns, Railways Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping, who also apologized to the families of the deceased and of the injured passengers on Sunday, stated that he had learned on-site that "wreckage manipulation" was necessary because of a muddy pool that was hampering rescue efforts.
Still, uneasiness persists. Chinese journalists report that the government sent out directives to media outlets suggesting how the train crash should be handled. A journalist at one television station, reported the Journal, said they were told to focus on rescue efforts and steer clear of stories about the accident, its causes, and government investigative measures.
(photo credit: Kekegou, Wikimedia Commons)