Tue. Aug 3rd, 2021
Taiwan prosecutors seek arrest in deadly train crash
(Photo Courtesy: Yahoo News Canada)

Prosecutors in Taiwan on Saturday sought an arrest warrant for the owner of an unmanned truck that rolled onto a train track and caused the country’s worst rail disaster in decades, killing 50 people and injuring 178.

The train was carrying 494 people at the start of a long holiday weekend on Friday when it smashed into the construction truck, the Taiwan Railways Administration said. The truck’s emergency brake was not properly engaged, according to the government’s disaster relief center.

The crash occurred just before the train entered a tunnel, and many passengers were crushed inside the mangled train carriages. With much of the train stuck inside the tunnel, some survivors were forced to climb out of windows and walk along the train’s roof to safety.

Authorities initially reported 51 deaths but revised the count down by one on Saturday. Among those killed was a U.S. citizen. Another U.S. citizen who was on the train was reported missing, according to a statement by Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry.

Yu Hsiu-duan, chief prosecutor in eastern Hualien County where the train derailed, said they were seeking an arrest warrant for the truck’s owner, who was questioned along with several others. She didn’t offer details citing an ongoing investigation.

The Hualien district court allowed the truck owner to post bail of 500,000 new Taiwan dollars (US$17,516) but he must stay in the county and avoid contact with any witnesses, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported.

President Tsai Ing-wen visited hospitals near the crash instead of the site itself so as not to interfere with rescue work, her spokesperson said.

“This heartbreaking accident caused many injuries and deaths. I came to Hualien today to visit the injured and express my condolences to the deceased passengers’ families,” Tsai said. “We will surely help them in the aftermath.”

Tsai told reporters Friday that she asked the Transportation Safety Committee to conduct a strict investigation.

Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung said repairs will be accelerated.“When such a thing happens, I feel very sorry and I will take full responsibility,” Lin said after touring the site.  SOVEREIGNPH

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