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Taichung MRT construction accident kills 4, injures 4 (update)

2015/04/10 20:56:29

Taipei, April 10 (CNA) A massive steel girder at a construction site of the Taichung Mass Rapid Transit system fell to the ground at rush hour on Friday, killing four people and injuring another four, according to the Taichung government.

Three construction workers and a female driver were crushed when the 43-meter-long, 209-metric ton steel girder fell from a height of about three stories high onto busy roads, the city government said.

Of the four people injured, one was in critical condition, said Deputy Mayor Chang Kuang-yao (張光瑤).



Because the girder hit at least four vehicles at the intersection of Wenxin Road and Beitun Road in the northeastern part of the city's downtown area, more victims may still be trapped at the site, rescuers said.

An initial investigation has found that negligence in hoisting the girder onto the MRT system's support pillars may have caused the accident.

According to rescuers, the crane used to hoist the girder had a maximum capacity of only 200 metric tons and may not have been able to handle the girder's weight, but subcontractors responsible for work at the site declined to confirm that.

The base of the crane was also found to have provided inadequate support, rescuers said, which may have led to an uneven distribution of the load and caused the crane to become unstable during its operation.

Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung was in South Korea at the time of the accident, and has decided to cut short his stay there and return home around midnight.

On Jan. 12, Lin demanded that the Taichung MRT Green Line, which was the line being worked on where the accident occurred, be completed two years ahead of schedule for a trial run in 2018.

Lin said at the time that the new plan had gone through a thorough evaluation and was feasible, adding that the schedule could even be moved up another six months if things went smoothly.



The elevated Green Line, which runs from Wuri to Beitun, is designed to be a 16.7-kilometer line with 18 stations.

It starts at Songzhu Road in Beitun District in northeastern Taichung and follows Wenxin and Wenxin South Roads before veering off to its terminus at the high-speed rail station in Wuri southwest of the Taichung downtown area.

Lin became mayor of the city late last year after handily defeating former Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強).

(By Wu Je-hou, Hau Hsueh-ching and Lee Hsin-Yin)
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