HUALIEN County, Taiwan (AP)—Taiwan prosecutors said on Saturday that they questioned the owner of a driverless truck that slipped onto a railroad track, causing the country’s worst train disaster in decades, killing 51 people , 146 people were injured, but no lawsuits were filed. .
The Taiwan Railway Administration said that at the beginning of the long weekend of the long holiday on Friday, the train was hit by an engineering vehicle that had slipped on the hillside above the railroad tracks, carrying 494 people. Before the train entered the tunnel, many passengers were killed. Some survivors were forced to climb out of the windows and walk along the roof of the train until they were safe.
According to the Government Disaster Relief Center, the emergency brake of the truck was not properly engaged.
The Eastern District Procuratorate of Hualien County, where the train derailed, confirmed that it had interviewed the truck owner but was not yet ready to file a lawsuit. Office spokeswoman Zhou Fangyi said that prosecutors were inspecting the body in the morgue on Saturday.
Chairman Tsai Ing-wen will visit the website later on Saturday.
Cai told reporters on Friday: “We have asked the Transportation Safety Committee to conduct a rigorous investigation of the accident. After fully clarifying the cause of the accident, we will explain it to everyone.
She said: “We ask passengers to forgive us for any delays.”
Transport Minister Lin Jialong said that maintenance will be accelerated.
“When this happens, I feel very sorry and I will take full responsibility,” Lin said after visiting the scene.
Taiwan Railway Bureau Director Chi Wenzhong said that his team had successfully removed the first derailed carriage from the scene.
The workers inspected and removed some parts in the remote wooded cliff area on the east coast of the island. Two large construction cranes can be seen erected next to the train.
Railroad tracks, including tunnels, are also undergoing repairs, and eight of the trains partially crashed. Weng Huiping, head of the news group of the Railway Administration, said that this work should be completed within a week. He said that during the maintenance process, all East Coast trains will run on tracks parallel to the damaged train in the accident, causing a delay of 15 to 20 minutes.
The National Fire Service confirmed the death toll, including young train drivers, newlywed drivers and assistant drivers, and said more than 100 people were injured. The government’s disaster response center said this was the worst railway disaster in 73 years.
Train travel was very popular during the four-day “tomb sweeping” holiday in Taiwan. At that time, families often returned to their hometowns to pay tribute to the graves of the elderly.
Taiwan is a mountainous island. Most of its 24 million people live on the northern and western coastal plains, where most of the island’s farmland, the largest city, and high-tech industries are located. The densely populated eastern part of the car accident is very popular with tourists, many of whom travel there by train to avoid mountain roads.
Jennings reports from Taipei, Taiwan.