The runaway truck that caused Taiwan’s worst rail disaster in decades slid onto the railroad tracks just over a minute before an express train sped past 120 km / h, researchers said, as the footage recently published reports revealed attempts by drivers to brake.
At least 50 people were killed and around 200 injured on Friday last week when the eight-car train collided with a construction vehicle that had slid down an embankment, derailing the cars as they entered a tunnel section on the outskirts. from the city of Hualien, on the east coast.
“It was just over a minute between the time the truck slid onto the track and the Taroko Express hit it, based on our initial estimate,” Taiwan Transportation Safety Board Chairman Dr. Young Hong-tsu.
As showed a short clip of train dash cam footage As they turned the corner and collided with the truck, Young said the driver and attendant, who were killed in the crash, had tried to brake but had only seconds to react. “He did everything he could in the hope of avoiding a disaster,” he said.
Young said the train would have taken between 500 and 600 meters to come to a complete stop, but it was less than half the length. The train was traveling at about 125 km / h, but slowed down to only 121 km / h before impact, the Taipei Times reported.
After derailing, the front cars were smashed and smashed against the tunnel walls, killing dozens and trapping some passengers for hours. As recovery teams continued their efforts to clean up the remains of the tunnel, investigators have focused on a construction vehicle that was parked on a maintenance road above the track before rolling down the slope. The truck driver, Lee Yi-hsiang, 49, has been taken into custody and prosecutors are seeking to determine whether he did not apply the parking brake or if there was a mechanical failure. On Sunday, Lee apologized through tears and told the media: “I am deeply sorry and want to express my sincere apologies.”
“I will cooperate with the investigation of the police and the prosecutors to assume the responsibility that I must assume.”
Li Gang, coordinator of the board’s investigations division, said investigators had determined that the construction vehicle had arrived at the site at 8.49 a.m. and that other vehicles, including motorcycles and excavators, were also operating, despite the fact that the rail authorities said it had told all the contractors to stop work for a long time. Weekend.
The accident was the deadliest rail incident in decades and has devastated the people of Taiwan. Among the dead are entire families, children up to five years old and people who died trying to protect loved ones of the impact of the crash. As of Tuesday night, all but one of the victims had been identified. There were still 35 people in the hospital, including several in intensive care.
The packed train, carrying nearly 500 people, including more than 120 stops in the aisles, was traveling south on the first day of a four-day religious festival. Funerals for the victims began earlier this week and the government has announced various forms of financial and social support for families and survivors. Public donations have reportedly exceeded more than US $ 2.1 million, and the government has announced an oversight committee to ensure proper distribution.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism