HUALIEN, Taiwan — Two days after Taiwan’s deadliest rail disaster in decades, investigators have been engaged on Sunday to find out why a truck had slipped downhill from a building website into the trail of an specific prepare, ensuing within the collision and derailment that killed dozens of individuals.
The operator of the crane truck, Lee Yi-hsiang, was ordered detained on Sunday by a decide, who reversed an earlier determination to grant him bail. Mr. Lee, who has not been charged with against the law, instructed reporters he had triggered the crash and mentioned he would take full duty for it.
“I hereby specific my deep remorse and my sincerest apologies,” Mr. Lee mentioned, his voice choking as he bowed in apology.
However investigators have been nonetheless attempting to find out whether or not Mr. Lee had uncared for to make use of the emergency brake, or if the truck had malfunctioned ultimately. Mr. Lee instructed reporters on Saturday that he had engaged the brake.
Different elements of the catastrophe have been additionally being investigated. Officers mentioned they have been attempting to find out precisely when the driving force of the prepare utilized the brake earlier than the collision.
Officers mentioned on Sunday that fifty folks had been killed within the crash of the eight-car Taroko Categorical, which derailed and slammed right into a tunnel wall after hitting the truck on Friday. The prepare was packed, carrying 498 folks on the primary day of a protracted vacation weekend.
The authorities had beforehand put the dying toll at 51. Figuring out victims has been a gradual and troublesome course of, and emergency personnel have been nonetheless attempting on Sunday to extricate wreckage from the tunnel and recuperate the stays of victims. Thirty-seven survivors of the crash have been nonetheless hospitalized on Sunday, officers mentioned.
Some survivors and relatives of the dead have proven extra grief than anger. Taiwan’s final critical prepare crash, in 2018, was discovered to have been caused by driver’s negligence, however preliminary impressions have been that the collision on Friday was one thing extra like a freak accident.
Some members of the family mentioned they didn’t need to assign duty for the catastrophe earlier than the federal government had completed its investigation, which the authorities mentioned would take about two months.
“I don’t need to blame anybody,” Wu Ming-yu, 68, mentioned on Sunday, as she sat with members of the family below a tent at a funeral residence in Hualien, a metropolis south of the crash website on Taiwan’s east coast. They have been ready for a mortuary make-up artist to complete work on the physique of Ms. Wu’s daughter, Huang Chiao-ling, a 35-year-old nurse who had been on her option to see her household.
Nonetheless, Ms. Wu mentioned she was involved that the development website could have fallen in need of security requirements. “It’s important to guarantee the protection of the development, as a result of should you don’t you’ll find yourself hurting different folks,” mentioned Ms. Wu.
The development venture had been commissioned by Taiwan’s transportation ministry to enhance the protection of the slope close to the crash website, which occurred on a steep mountainside on the Pacific coast. It was half of a bigger, six-year plan to reinforce railway security in Taiwan. Mr. Lee, the operator of the crane truck, was additionally the venture’s website supervisor.
“It’s ironic and really unlucky,” mentioned Yusin Lee, a professor of civil engineering and director of the Heart for Railway Research at Nationwide Cheng Kung College within the southern metropolis of Tainan. “It’s a reminder that even when now we have safety-targeted building initiatives, we nonetheless should preserve security in thoughts.”
At a information convention on Sunday, officers mentioned that Lee Yi-hsiang could have hid a part of his background when he utilized to be the venture’s website supervisor.
Su Chih-wu, a high quality management engineer on the location, mentioned by phone that staff had practically completed the venture, which was targeted on reinforcing the construction of a prepare tunnel working parallel to the one the place the crash occurred.
He additionally mentioned that there shouldn’t have been staff on the website on Friday, because it was the primary day of a protracted vacation weekend. It was not clear on Sunday whether or not Lee Yi-hsiang or anybody else had been on the website that day.
One other engineer on the venture, Yang Chin-lang, rejected the concept that his staff had failed to make sure an ample stage of security. “I didn’t do something fallacious,” he mentioned by phone. Each Mr. Yang and Mr. Su mentioned that they had been interviewed by prosecutors on Saturday.
“I simply adopted the design blueprints and did my job,” Mr. Yang added.
The crash occurred close to Qingshui Cliff, an space the place mountains rise dramatically from the Pacific Ocean. Consultants say the troublesome terrain has lengthy introduced a problem to transportation engineers, and lots of accidents have occurred on the winding freeway there over time. However the rail and freeway routes are an important hyperlink between Taipei, the capital, and the east coast.
Feng Hui Sheng, deputy director of the Taiwan Railways Administration, mentioned in an interview on Sunday that the company had made continuous security enhancements to its programs and tools for the reason that 2018 crash.
He mentioned that these modifications would proceed and that the authorities would additionally search to enhance the community’s sign and alarm programs and improve observe security. However he additionally acknowledged that broader modifications would possibly occur slowly.
“In relation to the innovation and reform of the system,” he added, “we’re extra conservative.”
Pleasure Dong reported from Hong Kong.