Taipei, Oct. 22 (CNA)－Speeding was the main reason behind the deadly derailment of a Puyama express train in northeastern Taiwan on Sunday that has left 18 people dead, according to the head of the Executive Yuan task force investigating the cause of the accident.
Confirming widespread suspicionsthat the train was going too fast at the time of the accident, Minister withoutPortfolio Wu Tze-cheng (吳澤成) said the train was traveling at 140 kilometers per hourwhen the train entered a curve and derailed in Yilan County.
The speed limit for that curved area, which has a radius of 300 meters, is 75 kph, Wu said, but he was unable to explain why the train was operating at such a high speed.
The 48-year-olddriver was seriously injured in the derailment but his condition improvedMonday and he was moved from the intensive care ward.
Prosecutors suspect the driver was at fault in operating the train at too high of a speed and also for shutting off the train’s automatic train protection (ATP) system.
Lu Chieh-shen (鹿潔身),director-general of the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), said Monday the TRAsuspected that the ATP system that would have slowed the train downautomatically was turned off manually.
He did not offer further details on how that happened.
The transportation minister said the current priority is to follow up with victims of the accident, which left 18 passengers dead and 190 injured, investigate the cause of the derailment and resume normal train operations in the affected area.
The TRA has alsoagreed to complete safety checks by Tuesday of all their 18 Puyuma expresstrains, known for their tilting features that allow them to maintain relatively highspeeds on curves.
The trains,introduced in 2013, are part of a railway upgrade in eastern Taiwan to helpincrease rail capacity and allow more travelers to bypass the area’s main roadway, thenarrow Suhua Highway, which is highly vulnerable to traffic jams,landslides and road collapses.
Wu will also give a special briefing on the derailment at the Legislature at the request of lawmakers on Wednesday.
According to the Executive Yuan, families of the deceased on the derailed train can receive NT$5.4 million (US$174,600) in compensation for each victim, while the injured can receive up to NT$2.45 million, depending on their condition.
run off the rails.
traveling at high speed
Executive Yuan task force:
remove doubt about by authoritative act or indisputable fact
widely diffused or prevalent
the act or an instance of suspecting something wrong without proof or on slight evidence
a line segment extending from the center of a circle or sphere to the circumference or bounding surface
to imagine (one) to be guilty or culpable on slight evidence or without proof
failing to exercise the care expected of a reasonably prudent person in like circumstances
a person who institutes a prosecution before a court
to hold or keep in or as if in custody
intensive care ward:
tending to strengthen or increase
a division in a hospital
Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA):
spoken rather than written
an act or instance of resigning something
to have or express a favorable opinion of
to avoid by means of a bypass
open to attack or damage