Taiwan: Over 50 Dead As Result of Train Crash, As Lorry Boss Apologises
A construction site manager whose lorry slid on to a railway track and led to Taiwan’s worst train disaster in decades has expressed “deep regret” in relations to the accident.
Lee Yi-hsiang, 49, said he was “deeply remorseful” and wanted to give his “most sincere apologies”.
His flatbed lorry was parked on an embankment but slipped down it, causing the train to derail on Friday near the city of Hualien. At least 50 people were killed and more than 200 injured in the crash.
Investigators say CCTV footage from the front carriage showed the train driver had only 6.9 seconds to respond and the train was only 250m (820ft) away from the lorry, not enough time or distance for the driver to stop and avoid the collision.
There is an ongoing investigations into whether Mr Lee failed to set the emergency brake or whether there was a mechanic failure in his vehicle.
He was questioned over the weekend by prosecutors and released on bail, but on Sunday he was taken back into custody because he was deemed a flight risk and had a previous conviction.
Reading a statement to news crews outside his house, Mr Lee said he would co-operate with crash investigators, and “take the responsibility I should take”.
Mr Lee Yi-hsiang was part of a team that regularly inspected Taiwan’s mountainous eastern train line for landslides and other risks. He was also thought to be the flatbed’s operator.
The eight-carriage train was traveling from the capital Taipei to Taitung when it hit the flatbed and crashed inside a tunnel north of Hualien.
The train was packed with people traveling to celebrate a long-weekend holiday, and many of the nearly 500 passengers on board may have been standing because the train was so full.
Taiwan has declared three days of national mourning.
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