Friday, 16 April, 2021

Relatives mourn Taiwan train crash victims

India condoles loss of lives in Taiwan rail accident St Lucia extends condolences to Taiwan after train crash
Deanna Wagner | 04 April, 2021, 16:20

As fix work takes place on the track from where the train derailed, trains will run on a parallel track, with a delay of 15-20 minutes. Officials are investigating the manager of the construction site, Lee Yi-hsiang, whose truck is suspected of not having its brakes properly applied.

The train, with nearly 500 people aboard, was travelling from Taipei, the capital, to Taitung on the east coast when it derailed in a tunnel just north of the city of Hualien.

He could face charges of causing death by negligence and of forging documents and he said he was co-operating with investigators.

Forty-eight people were killed on Friday in a deadly train derailment in Taiwan's Hualien county, authorities said, adding the track on which the fatal accident occurred will take seven days to fix.

"Government agencies are making an all-out effort in the hope of minimising the impact of the disaster so the deceased can rest in peace and the injured can recover soon", she told reporters.

Lee's court-appointed lawyer declined to comment to reporters as he left the court.

On Saturday, focus shifted to removing carriages now blocking one half of the sole train line down Taiwan's remote and mountainous eastern coastline.

Lin Jinn-tsun, head of the Justice Ministry's Prosecutorial Affairs Department, said they had lodged an appeal against the decision to release Lee on bond.

Family members visited the site on Saturday afternoon to mourn the dead, some crying out "Come back!", and bringing personal belongings with them like dolls.

The uncle of the youngest confirmed victim, a five-year-old girl, tearfully told reporters he was still waiting for an apology for the accident.

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Due to the frequent earthquakes rocking the island, Taiwan has rescue workers ready to respond and help disaster victims.

"We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident", he added.

Images show a large, yellow flatbed truck lying at the side of the tracks.

Following the incident, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen shared a statement on Twitter, writing, "In response to a train derailment in Hualien, Taiwan, our emergency services have been fully mobilized to rescue & assist the passengers & railway staff affected".

The government has ordered flags flown at half-staff for three days in mourning.

As questions mounted over how packed the train was and why there were not fences on that section of the track, transport minister Lin Chia-lung offered his resignation on Sunday.

In a rare sign of goodwill from China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, President Xi Jinping expressed his condolences over the crash, state news agency Xinhua said.

The accident happened on Friday, at the start of a long holiday weekend. The crash occurred on day one of the Sweeping Tomb festival, where families return to home towns to pay respects at the graves of their ancestors.

Taiwan has no domestic travel curbs as the COVID-19 pandemic is well under control, with only 43 active cases in hospitals.

Taiwan's most deadly rail disaster on record was in 1948 when a train caught fire and 64 people perished.