Preliminary results from an investigation into Tuesday’s tour bus fire showed that an emergency exit on the left rear side of the bus was operational, the Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday.
Twenty-four Chinese tourists and two Taiwanese — the bus driver and tour guide — died after their bus caught fire on National Freeway No. 2 en route to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
Police and passing truck drivers failed in their attempts to open an emergency exit on the left rear side of the bus from the outside, investigators said, adding that they are trying to determine whether the external handle on that exit was damaged when the bus hit the guardrails, during the fire or during attempts to clear the site.
Photo: Richie B. Tongo, EPA
The left rear emergency exit was operational and could be opened from the inside, investigators said.
Another exit on the right rear of the bus had already been opened, presumably before the first collision with the guardrail, they added.
However, investigators said that after the collision the door could not be opened properly as it was wedged against the guardrail.
Photo: Taipei Times
As the right rear exit had to be activated by the driver, investigators said they were still trying to determine whether the door had been opened by the driver, Su Ming-cheng (蘇明成), or one of the passengers.
This detail might prove critical in understanding the case, as an autopsy of Su showed that he suffered from smoke inhalation before his death, investigators said, adding that they had not ruled out the possibility that Su had been knocked unconscious in the collision.
Prosecutors said they are trying to determine if a fire extinguisher found in the bus had been used.
Investigators are also looking into why the bus continued along the highway after smoke was first seen at the 4.2km mark of the freeway, when the bus had slowed to between 20kph and 30kph.
“We are also looking into what happened between the 4.2km mark, at the 2.9km mark where the bus hit the outer guardrail and where it crashed into the inner guardrail at the 2.8km mark,” the team said.
The office said it was releasing information to keep victims’ family members informed.
The office held an information session at the Chuto Plaza Hotel in Taoyuan at 8:30pm for the victims’ family members, who arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 4pm.
Forty-nine family members, as well as 21 Chinese officials were taken to a funeral parlor in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢) after their arrival.
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
Americans awoke yesterday to charred and glass-strewn streets in dozens of cities after another night of unrest fueled by rage over the mistreatment of African Americans at the hands of police, who responded to the violence with tear gas and rubber bullets. Tens of thousands marched peacefully through streets to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Monday last week after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing. However, many demonstrations sank into chaos as night fell: Vehicles and businesses were torched. The words “I can’t breathe” were
EXTRA INVITATIONS: Russia, Australia, South Korea and India would be asked to a later summit dedicated to countering China, Donald Trump said US President Donald Trump has been forced to cancel a planned face-to-face summit of G7 leaders this month and now wants to host an expanded meeting in September dedicated to countering China to which Russian President Vladimir Putin would be invited. Trump on Saturday announced that he had canceled the June meeting, which he had billed as a symbol of the US “transitioning back to greatness,” after German Chancellor Angela Merkel told him in a telephone call that she saw the summit in Washington as a health risk. Hundreds of security staff, journalists and officials also attend the two-day summits. Reports suggest