Beijing: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday ordered a "swift, open and transparent" probe into the deadly crash of two bullet trains that left at least 39 people dead and sparked unprecedented nationwide criticism.

"Great importance must be attached to finding out the facts and judging responsibility in accordance with the country's laws and regulations," Wen told a Cabinet meeting.

Unswerving efforts should be made to save those who were injured in the crash, he said, according to an official statement.

Wen offered his "deep condolences" to the victims and their families and called for efforts to confirm the death toll, identify the victims and provide proper compensation.

The Cabinet has also decided to "take resolute steps to enhance safety". A nationwide campaign will be launched to improve work safety, focusing on areas such as transportation, coal mining, construction and the hazardous chemical industry.

Chinese railway said 39 people were killed and 192 others were injured but millions of micro bloggers and Chinese official media raised searching questions about the toll as three bogies fell down bridge while one hung along precariously.

The crash took place when a bullet train travelling at the speed of over 200 kmph crashed into the rare of another stuck on a high bridge after loosing power after it was hit by lightening.

Criticism was levelled against the way the officials covered the damaged compartments and presence of several earth diggers at the scene creating suspicion that hard evidence was being concealed.
The railways also announced a compensation of five million Yuan (about USD 77000) for those killed in the crash.

An attempt by the Chinese railway ministry spokesman to clarify issues at a press conference proved futile as he struggled to answer hostile and searching questions from the media on the crash.

According to the Beijing News, police have denied claims that the accident was caused by a bug in the control system software and that two programmers had been arrested as a result.

The investigation was expected to throw light on all aspects of the crash which was the first since the bullet trains were launched in 2007.

(Agencies)