Taiwan truck owner breaks down in tears and apologises as police detain him over deadly train crash

The manager of a construction site whose truck caused a deadly train crash in Taiwan has apologised in tears, saying he will cooperate with the investigation.  The train was carrying almost 500 passengers and crew when it barrelled into an unmanned truck that had rolled onto the track last week. At least 48 people were killed and 198 injured in the accident, according to Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operation Center. 

An investigation is underway into how Lee Yi-Hsiang’s truck slipped down. “I am deeply remorseful and want to express my most sincere apologies. I will cooperate with the authorities’ investigation fully, and take responsibility,” said Mr Lee on Sunday.  He was questioned by the prosecutors over the weekend and released on bail by a court.

The Hualien District Court later revoked his bail, saying there was a risk he may destroy evidence, try to flee or collude with others, according to Taiwan’s government-run Central News Agency.  His assets have been frozen and he will be held for two months without outside contact. Read more:

Investigators are now trying to determine if there was a mechanical failure in the vehicle or if the driver failed to properly apply the truck’s emergency brake.  Transport minister Lin Chia-lung also accepted responsibility and offered his resignation. “I am also in charge of minimising the damage caused by the entire accident. After the whole rescue work is completed, I believe I will take the responsibility,” he said, according to Reuters. 

His offer to resign has been rejected for the time being, Premier Su Tseng-chang’s office said.  Rescue efforts are still underway and rescuers were trying on Monday to retrieve the last body of a passenger. Taiwan’s government has announced compensation for the victims’ families and President Tsai Ing-wen said her government “will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident.”

Taiwan has also announced quarantine exemptions for family members who want to return to the country for funerals, according to The Guardian

The crash was Taiwan’s worst train accident in decades.

Prosecutors have appealed to the public for any photographs they may have taken of the crash, saying they may have inadvertently gathered evidence in their photos.

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