Authorities are conducting an investigation after a crane crashed and fell in front of the passenger train, resulting in a collision that killed 50 people.
Families of victims of the train crash are trying to bring their souls near Taroko Gorge in Hualien, Taiwan on Saturday, April 3, 2021.
Source: AP Photo / Chiang Ying-ying
Tearful apologies, promises of reform, political quarrels and overwhelming feelings of grief mark the days after the train crash of April 2, the deadliest crash of Taiwan for decades.
Authorities continued to investigate after a passenger train collided with a truck and derailed at the entrance to a tunnel north of Hualien. The crash killed 50 people and injured 202 people, according to the Central Taiwan’s Center for Emergency Operations (CEOC).
The train carries 498 people on the first day of the country’s annual Tomb Sweeping Festival, in which many Taiwanese return home to visit relatives or visit tourist attractions.
The crane was parked on top of the slope before sliding down and falling onto the tracks less than two minutes before the accident, according to the independent Taiwan Transportation Safety Committee (TTSB). Investigators are trying to determine if the crane’s brakes are working.
Young Hong-tsu, president of TTSB, said the train driver could “have only about seven seconds” to react after finding out the crane truck was crashed. The train driver was among those killed in the crash.
The truck driver, Lee Yi-hsiang, apologized on April 4, saying he “deeply regrets” and will “cooperate with the police and prosecutor’s investigation to take responsibility for worth.”
Lee was arrested after the crash and was initially released on April 3 before being revoked by the Hualien District Court, which believes he is in danger of flying or possibly destroys evidence.
The Central News Agency of the State of Taiwan reported yesterday that Lee attempted to uproot his truck from the roadside bushes before it slid downhill, though it has yet to be determined whether this caused the truck to fall onto the rails.
Taiwan’s Transport Minister Lin Chia-lung has filed for resignation to be responsible for the crash, but it has yet to be approved.
Taiwan’s opposition party, the KMT (KMT), on April 5 called on Lin, along with Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang, to resign due to the fatal accident, Blame the accused as negligence of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in power because of the accident.
In 2018, 18 people were killed and nearly 300 injured after a train derailed in Nghi Lan district. After that incident, President Tsai Ing-wen and her cabinet formed a committee to review the safety measures of the Taiwan Railway Bureau (TRA), but the KMT accused the commission of was canceled after Su replaced Prime Minister William Lai in January 2019.
Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), a central opposition party founded by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, Is called for the Ministry of Transport to submit plans to improve train safety next month and examine TRA contractors for past safety breaches.
Tsai on Wednesdays vow to prioritize TRA reforms, calling this mission the “unshakable responsibility” of the government.