Taiwan Prosecutors Cost Man With Inflicting Lethal Prepare Crash

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwanese prosecutors on Friday formally charged the operator of a crane truck that slid down an embankment into the trail of an oncoming categorical prepare, ensuing within the island’s deadliest rail disaster in decades.

The operator of the truck, Lee Yi-hsiang, has been in detention in Hualien, a metropolis in japanese Taiwan, since shortly after the April 2 crash. He had previously apologized and taken responsibility for inflicting the collision, which pressured the eight-car Taroko Specific to fly off the rails and slam into the partitions of a tunnel, killing 49 folks and injuring greater than 200 others.

“This case has already triggered the harmless deaths of 49 victims, and the enduring ache of their households,” Chou Fang-yi, the Hualien District prosecutor, informed reporters at a briefing on Friday.

It additionally triggered hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in financial losses and broken Taiwan’s status as a vacation spot for tourism, she mentioned.

“Subsequently, we’re looking for the very best potential penalties for negligent murder and hit-and-run for the defendant surnamed Lee,” Ms. Chou added.

Native prosecutors in Hualien mentioned investigators interviewed greater than 100 folks and reviewed digital camera footage from the prepare and the crane truck over the course of two weeks.

They mentioned that on the morning of April 2, Mr. Lee and a colleague, surnamed Hua, had been engaged on a development website on a steep mountainside, simply above the tunnel the place the prepare later derailed.

The positioning was related to a development mission commissioned by Taiwan’s transportation ministry to enhance the protection of the slope.

Prosecutors mentioned there shouldn’t have been any employees on the positioning that day, because it was the beginning of a protracted vacation weekend. However Mr. Lee, the crane truck operator, was additionally the development website supervisor, and an official mentioned in an interview that Mr. Lee had been speeding to complete the mission to keep away from penalties for lacking a deadline.

Prosecutors mentioned that Mr. Lee was making an attempt to maneuver the crane truck round a hairpin flip when it received caught within the bushes on the sting of the slope. He received out and tried to dislodge the truck, but it surely tumbled down the embankment onto the railway observe.

Neither Mr. Lee nor Mr. Hua tried to alert authorities to the scenario, the prosecutors mentioned.

Simply over one minute later, the Taroko Specific, which was full of 498 folks, together with many families who were on their way to scenic eastern Taiwan for the Tomb Sweeping vacation weekend, emerged from a close-by tunnel and collided with the automobile. The prepare had been touring at about 80 miles an hour, investigators have mentioned.

The prosecutors mentioned they have been bringing a number of fees in opposition to Mr. Lee, together with negligent murder, leaving the crash scene and falsifying his credentials to use for the mission.

If convicted on all counts, Mr. Lee might withstand twelve years in jail, Ms. Chou mentioned in an interview.

Mr. Hua and two different mission supervisors who weren’t on the crash website that day have additionally been charged with negligent murder, against the law which carries a most penalty of 5 years in jail. The police division had beforehand mentioned that Mr. Hua was a migrant employee from Vietnam.

The revelation that the crane truck had been related to a government-commissioned mission has triggered an more and more heated public dialogue in latest days in regards to the Taiwan Railways Administration, which runs the Taroko Specific and was additionally the company behind the slope security scheme.

Though main prepare crashes are comparatively uncommon in Taiwan, the derailment in Hualien earlier this month was the second severe incident in three years. Within the final main prepare accident, in 2018, 18 folks have been killed and 170 others injured after a train derailed in northeastern Taiwan’s Yilan County.

Simply days after the crash in Hualien this month, President Tsai Ing-wen vowed to overtake the railway company, which has lengthy been dogged by complaints about its bureaucratic tradition and weak security consciousness.

“With regards to the TRA, my view is way the identical,” Ms. Tsai mentioned. “Individuals in every single place in Taiwan need to have a protected path house. Reforming the company is our unshirkable accountability.”

The prepare crash in Hualien has been one of many worst disasters that Ms. Tsai has confronted since she took workplace in 2016. Her transportation minister, Lin Chia-lung, has already supplied to resign and can go away workplace subsequent week.

An official with the Taiwan Transportation Security Board, a authorities company that’s answerable for investigating main transportation accidents, mentioned lately that the company’s investigation into the crash was persevering with. It anticipated to launch the outcomes subsequent 12 months.

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