Taiwan's transport minister offers resignation after deadly train crash

Rescue team help stranded passengers down from the roof of a train which derailed in a tunnel north of Hualien, Taiwan (Photo: Reuters)

Taiwan Transport Minister Lin Chia-Lung has offered his resignation following the deadly train crash in the country that killed dozens of people.

In a phone call, Lin told Premier Su Tseng-chang that he wished to step down, to take responsibility for the Friday's express train crash in eastern Taiwan, Focus Taiwan reported citing Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng on Sunday.

In response, Su commended Lin for wanting to show accountability but said that the focus right now is on repairing the railway line that was damaged during Friday's accident, according to Lo.

In the Island's worst rail accident in seven decades, 51 people have been confirmed dead after a packed train carrying over 490 passengers and crew slammed into a truck near the eastern city of Hualien on Friday. The slamming caused the train to derail and the front part to crumple.

Meanwhile, Deputy Transport Minister Wang Kwo-tsai said the resumption of train services on the damaged line has been postponed from April 8 to April 20, as the railway structure on that section requires closer examination.

Police have detained the truck driver involved in the crash after a court revoked its decision to grant him bail.

In a statement, the district court said there was a high possibility that Lee Yi-hsiang could try to flee, collude with others, or destroy evidence, given the severity of the alleged crime.

The court on Saturday had granted Lee bail of NT$500,000 (US$17,516) after he was questioned by prosecutors about the circumstances relating to the truck he had parked on a hill above the railway.

Investigators are looking into the possibility that the crane truck slid down the incline and fell onto the track in the path of the ill-fated train, because the truck's parking brake was not properly engaged, either as a result of mechanical failure or human negligence.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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