Wed, Apr 29, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Hau rejects demand for apology over fatal crane accident

RESPONSIBILITY The mayor said the city was sorry about the accident, but rejected demands for an apology, saying the contractor was at fault

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday denied that the crane accident last week that killed three Chinese tourists was a result of negligence on the part of Taipei City Government.

The accident occurred on Friday afternoon when a crane boom fell from a construction site in Taipei City's Xinyi District (信義) and hit a tour bus carrying 25 tourists from China.

Three of the tourists were killed and four others were injured.

Hau said the construction company and contractors should shoulder responsibility for the fatal accident, while the city government had not been negligent.

“The city government is sorry about the accident, but it would be inappropriate and unfair to demand an apology from me,” Hau told reporters.

Both Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City caucuses asked Hau to offer an apology over the accident because the city government failed to ensure safety at the site.

Hau said overloading the crane and a failure to take heed of high winds were the main factors behind the accident, and the city government was investigating the company for failing to follow proper procedures.

The city government will also conduct a thorough safety inspection on all construction sites in the city to prevent any similar cases, while helping the families of the dead to arrange funeral services, he said.

Su Ying-kuei (蘇盈貴), commissioner of Taipei City's Labor Department, said the labor standards inspection office had inspected the site 24 times since 2006 and ordered the construction company to improve safety measures once.

“The office did its job. The construction company is responsible for the accident,” he said.

President International Development Corp is the main contractor of the build-operate-transfer project. The company and its subcontractors, Ta-Chen Construction Engineering Corp and Global Leader Neoweb, the provider and operator of the crane, are constructing a multiuse building that will include a bus transit center, a shopping square and a hotel.

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