Taiwan driver granted bail after 18 killed in train crash

Taiwan driver granted bail after 18 killed in train crash
PHOTO: Reuters

YILAN, Taiwan - The driver of a train that derailed in Taiwan killing 18 people and injuring 187, was granted bail on Tuesday after being detained in connection with the island's worst rail disaster in decades.

The driver, You Zhen-zhong, 48, was granted bail of T$500,000 (S$22,260) after he was detained for investigation, the Taiwan Railways Administration said.

You had been treated in hospital following the accident on Sunday in Yilan county, in the island's mountainous northeast.

An initial inquiry found that speeding might have been the cause of the accident, the official Central News Agency said.

The train came off the rails on a curve while moving at close to 87 miles per hour (140 kmh), above the speed limit of 46 mph (74 kmh), the news agency reported, citing the head of the investigation team, Wu Ze-cheng.

Train derails in Taiwan's Yilan county, killing 18

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    Eighteen people died and 168 were injured when a train derailed in northeastern Taiwan on Sunday, authorities said, in the island's worst rail disaster in more than three decades.

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    Four carriages were overturned in the crash, which occurred in Yilan County near the coast on a line popular among tourists when all eight cars ran off the tracks, officials said.

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    Hundreds of rescuers and military personnel worked through the wreckage with spotlights on Sunday night in search of survivors, with ambulances stationed nearby.

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    Rescue workers, some attending to injured people at the scene, used cranes to lift the battered cars, some of which were lined in a zigzag pattern near the tracks.

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    An American citizen was injured. The authority was checking whether more foreigners were on board.

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    The official Central News Agency said the incident was the island's deadliest rail tragedy since 30 were killed in a 1981 collision in northern Taiwan.

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    An investigation was under way to find out the cause of the crash, Taiwan Railways Administration said. "The train was in pretty good condition," its Deputy Chief Lu Chieh-Shen told a news conference.

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    A general view shows carriages of the Puyuma Express train in Taiwan's northeastern Yilan county on October 22, 2018, a day after the train derailed at high speed near Xinma station.

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    Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen walk along the tracks of Xinma station to listen to the briefings from a search and rescue team in Taiwan's northeastern Yilan county.

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    Tsai Ing-wen visits family relatives of victims of train derailment, in Yilan, Taiwan.

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    A relative attends a ceremony paying tribute to the victims of a train derailment in Yilan, Taiwan October 22, 2018.

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    A relative cries while paying tribute to victims of a train derailment, at hospital in Yilan, Taiwan October 22, 2018.

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More investigation was needed to determine the cause, he said.

The train data recorder, which tracks speed, among other things, had been sent to prosecutors to be examined.

The disaster was Taiwan's deadliest rail accident since a 1981 collision that killed 30 people.

The head of the state railway administration, Lu Jie-shen, had offered to resign but that was not accepted by the transport minister, the railway authority said.

ALSO READ: 'Why?' asks Taiwan mourner, after 18 killed in train disaster

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