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Special task force to probe deadly Puyuma train accident: Cabinet

2018/10/22 18:07:21

Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德, third left wearing red vest) at the scene of the accident Sunday

Taipei, Oct. 22 (CNA) On a directive from Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德), the Cabinet on Monday established a task force to investigate the cause of a deadly train accident that occurred the previous day in Yilan County, Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said.

The task force comprises 15 members, led by Minister without Portfolio Wu Tze-cheng (吳澤成), and includes Allen Hu (胡湘麟), head of the Bureau of High Speed Rail, who is serving as executive secretary and spokesman, Kolas said.

The accident occurred Sunday at 4:50 p.m. near a train station in Yilan, when a Puyuma express train ran off the tracks on a curve, killing 18 and injuring 190 of the 366 passengers on board.

The new task force visited the site of the accident on Monday and held its first meeting to establish the methods and direction of the investigation, according to Kolas.

In keeping with a directive from Lai, the task force will also check all Puyuma trains operated by Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) to determine whether the express service should be suspended, Kolas said.

Lai also directed the relevant government agencies to help handle the aftermath of the accident, including offering assistance to the bereaved families, the Cabinet spokeswoman said.

In addition, Lai gave a directive for Minister without Portfolio Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶), who is also the head of National Development Council, to visit the site of the derailment and has asked local governments to assist the injured passengers and the families of those who died in the accident, Kolas said.

Most passengers killed or injured in the accident were residents of Yilan, Hualien and Taitung on the east coast, according to the Cabinet.

(By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao)