Taiwan Crash Investigators Deal with How Truck Fell in Prepare’s Path

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HUALIEN, Taiwan — Two days after Taiwan’s deadliest rail catastrophe in many years, investigators had been engaged on Sunday to find out why a truck had slipped downhill from a building web site into the trail of an specific practice, ensuing within the collision and derailment that killed dozens of individuals.

The operator of the crane truck, Lee Yi-hsiang, was ordered detained on Sunday by a decide, who reversed an earlier choice to grant him bail. Mr. Lee, who has not been charged with a criminal offense, instructed reporters he had brought on the crash and mentioned he would take full accountability for it.

“I hereby specific my deep remorse and my sincerest apologies,” Mr. Lee mentioned, his voice choking as he bowed in apology.

However investigators had been nonetheless making an attempt to find out whether or not Mr. Lee had uncared for to make use of the emergency brake, or if the truck had malfunctioned ultimately. Mr. Lee instructed reporters on Saturday that he had engaged the brake.

Different features of the catastrophe had been additionally being investigated. Officers mentioned they had been making an attempt to find out precisely when the driving force of the practice utilized the brake earlier than the collision.

Officers mentioned on Sunday that fifty folks had been killed within the crash of the eight-car Taroko Specific, which derailed and slammed right into a tunnel wall after hitting the truck on Friday. The practice was packed, carrying 498 folks on the primary day of a protracted vacation weekend.

The authorities had beforehand put the dying toll at 51. Figuring out victims has been a gradual and troublesome course of, and emergency personnel had been nonetheless making an attempt on Sunday to extricate wreckage from the tunnel and recuperate the stays of victims. Thirty-seven survivors of the crash had been nonetheless hospitalized on Sunday, officers mentioned.

Some survivors and kin of the useless have proven extra grief than anger. Taiwan’s final critical practice crash, in 2018, was discovered to have been attributable to driver’s negligence, however preliminary impressions had been that the collision on Friday was one thing extra like a freak accident.

Some relations mentioned they didn’t wish to assign accountability for the catastrophe earlier than the federal government had completed its investigation, which the authorities mentioned would take about two months.

“I don’t wish to blame anybody,” Wu Ming-yu, 68, mentioned on Sunday, as she sat with relations below a tent at a funeral dwelling in Hualien, a metropolis south of the crash web site on Taiwan’s east coast. They had been ready for a mortuary make-up artist to complete work on the physique of Ms. Wu’s daughter, Huang Chiao-ling, a 35-year-old nurse who had been on her method to see her household.

Nonetheless, Ms. Wu mentioned she was involved that the development web site could have fallen wanting security requirements. “You must guarantee the protection of the development, as a result of if you happen to don’t you’ll find yourself hurting different folks,” mentioned Ms. Wu.

The development challenge had been commissioned by Taiwan’s transportation ministry to enhance the protection of the slope close to the crash web site, which occurred on a steep mountainside on the Pacific coast. It was half of a bigger, six-year plan to reinforce railway security in Taiwan. Mr. Lee, the operator of the crane truck, was additionally the challenge’s web site supervisor.

“It’s ironic and really unlucky,” mentioned Yusin Lee, a professor of civil engineering and director of the Middle for Railway Research at Nationwide Cheng Kung College within the southern metropolis of Tainan. “It’s a reminder that even when we now have safety-targeted building tasks, we nonetheless must preserve security in thoughts.”

At a information convention on Sunday, officers mentioned that Lee Yi-hsiang could have hid a part of his background when he utilized to be the challenge’s web site supervisor.

Su Chih-wu, a high quality management engineer on the positioning, mentioned by phone that staff had almost completed the challenge, which was targeted on reinforcing the construction of a practice tunnel operating parallel to the one the place the crash occurred.

He additionally mentioned that there shouldn’t have been staff on the web site on Friday, because it was the primary day of a protracted vacation weekend. It was not clear on Sunday whether or not Lee Yi-hsiang or anybody else had been on the web site that day.

One other engineer on the challenge, Yang Chin-lang, rejected the concept that his group had failed to make sure an sufficient stage of security. “I didn’t do something incorrect,” he mentioned by phone. Each Mr. Yang and Mr. Su mentioned they’d been interviewed by prosecutors on Saturday.

“I simply adopted the design blueprints and did my job,” Mr. Yang added.

The crash occurred close to Qingshui Cliff, an space the place mountains rise dramatically from the Pacific Ocean. Consultants say the troublesome terrain has lengthy introduced a problem to transportation engineers, and plenty of accidents have occurred on the winding freeway there through the years. However the rail and freeway routes are a necessary hyperlink between Taipei, the capital, and the east coast.

Feng Hui Sheng, deputy director of the Taiwan Railways Administration, mentioned in an interview on Sunday that the company had made continuous security enhancements to its methods and tools for the reason that 2018 crash.

He mentioned that these adjustments would proceed and that the authorities would additionally search to enhance the community’s sign and alarm methods and improve monitor security. However he additionally acknowledged that broader adjustments may occur slowly.

“In the case of the innovation and reform of the system,” he added, “we’re extra conservative.”

Pleasure Dong reported from Hong Kong.

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