New transportation safety agency to consider Puyuma crash review

04/18/2019 06:09 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, April 18 (CNA) The Aviation Safety Council (ASC) will be restructured and designated a national transportation safety council in August, responsible for investigating major transportation accidents, which could include the deadly Puyuma train crash last October, ASC said Thursday.

The Legislative Yuan this month passed an amendment to the Organic Law of the ASC to transform the agency, currently tasked with investigating aviation accident, into a body that probes marine, railway, highway and aviation transportation accidents.

The amendment came in the wake of the Puyuma express train crash in Yilan County last October that killed 18 people and left 210 injured, the deadliest railway accident in Taiwan in nearly three decades.

According to ASC Chairman Young Hong-tsu (楊宏智), who has a background in engineering, once the new council goes into operation, its first order of business will be whether to re-investigate the accident.

It is highly likely the investigation will be reopened as the report released by the Cabinet investigation task force last November was insufficiently comprehensive and widely questioned, Young said.

In the event a new investigation is launched, Young said it would involve a full-scale inspection of all Puyuma express trains and the entire Taiwan Railways Administration system with the application of more rigorous scientific methodology, so as to better determine the causes of the accident.

The report on the Puyuma accident presented by the Cabinet was based on insufficient evidence due to the low sophistication of on-site investigative mechanisms, according to Young.

Furthermore, the report concluded that the cause was speeding, but failed to explore the reasons for the speeding, he added.

For example, why the driver felt it was necessary to speed up, whether Puyuma drivers often go over the speed limit and other root causes could be associated with flaws in relevant rules and regulations.

Echoing Young, ASC Executive Director Kuan Wen-lin (官文霖) said there is a high probability the Puyuma crash will be re-investigated.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Chung Yu-chen)


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