Taiwan’s transport minister to step down following catastrophic train crash
Taiwan’s transport minister said on Sunday he would step down after he and the manager of a construction site whose truck slid onto rail tracks causing a catastrophic train crash accepted responsibility for the disaster.
In the island’s worst rail accident in seven decades, 50 people have been confirmed dead after a packed express train carrying almost 500 passengers and crew slammed into the truck near the eastern city of Hualien on Friday, causing it to derail and the front part to crumple.
The truck that the train hit had slid down a sloping road onto the track just outside a tunnel. Officials are investigating the manager of the construction site, Lee Yi-hsiang, whose truck is suspected of not having its brakes properly applied.
Lee read out a statement apologising for what happened as police took him away from his residence, Taiwan media reported.
“I deeply regret this and express my deepest apologies,” he said. “I will definitely cooperate with the prosecutors and police in the investigation, accept the responsibility that should be borne, and never shirk it. Finally, I once again express my sincerest apologies.”
A Hualien court said on Sunday evening it had ordered that Lee be detained for two months, saying there was a risk he may destroy evidence. After questioning by the judge and evidence from prosecutors, he is suspected of causing death by negligence, it said.
His lawyer told reporters that Lee wanted to face up to what had happened and was apologetic and expressed regret.
Transport Minister Lin Chia-lung, in a statement on his Facebook page, said he would step down once the initial rescue work had come to an end, adding he “took full responsibility”.
“I should have accepted all the criticism over the past few days, but we have not done well enough,” he said…..read more