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Investigators reject denials by driver of ill-fated Puyuma train

2018/12/28 22:17

Taipei, Dec. 28 (CNA) A Cabinet task force investigating a deadly Puyuma train crash in October took issue Friday with arguments made by the train's driver against the task force's conclusions that he acted negligently prior to the accident.

Task force spokesman Allen Hu (胡湘麟) said the accusations made by investigators against Puyuma driver Yu Chen-chung (尤振仲) were not wrong because they were based on data taken from a Train Control and Monitor System (TCMS), which operates like a black box.

The system showed that Yu maintained the train's speed at 130-140 km per hour from the time the southbound Puyuma express left Luodong station to when it approached Xinma station 9 kilometers south, where it derailed going around a curve because it was moving at double the permissible speed limit.

Yu had argued earlier that the train was only traveling at roughly 80 kph near the Wu Lao Keng bridge, about 1 kilometer north of Xinma station, and said he never tried to speed during the trip and was confused why the train operated that way.

Yu also said he applied the brakes once he realized the train was going too fast right before the crash, an emergency response that was not mentioned in any of the investigative reports.

Hu defended the reports, however, citing records from the TCMS that showed no application of the brakes before the crash.

Responding to Yu's call that the task force should make public all audio communication records between him and the dispatchers instead of written transcripts, Hu said doing so will require authorization from the Yilan District Prosecutors Office.

Yu had also asked the task force to disclose his post-accident interviews, and Hu said it will do so based on provisions in the Personal Information Protection Act.

Puyuma train No. 6432 from New Taipei to Taitung derailed in Yilan County on Oct. 21, leaving 18 passengers dead and some 200 injured.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)Enditem/ls