All of the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) trains are scheduled to whistle simultaneously at 10am today in remembrance of train driver Tsai Chung-hui (蔡崇輝), who sacrificed his life to protect 300 passengers in an accident two years ago.
A Taroko Express train driven by Tsai hit a gravel truck that was illegally using a railway crossing in Yangmei (楊梅) on Jan. 17, 2012.
TRA Workers Union chairman Hsieh Sheng-ming (謝勝明) said Tsai’s fellow drivers wanted to do something to remember him and show their respect to their brave colleague.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Civil Service yesterday overturned its previously ruling on Tsai’s death, saying that new evidence showed that he died because he risked his life and protected passengers.
The ministry previously said that Tsai’s family was not qualified to receive the maximum compensation amount for a civil servant who died in a work-related accident, ruling that Tsai died because he did not have time to escape the collision.
That ruling was criticized as “cold-blooded” by legislators, who asked the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to do everything it could to help the family receive more in compensation.
Tsai’s wife, Wang Li-chuan (王麗娟), vowed to fight for the honor that her husband deserved by finding new evidence to show he had been in the driver’s cabin the whole time until he passed away.
In the ministry’s report submitted to the Examination Yuan yesterday, new evidence showed that Tsai died in a powerful collision at the front of the train. Injuries to and fractures in his hands showed he was in the driver’s cabin when the collision occurred and his body was subsequently pushed to the aisle outside the cabin.
The report said that Tsai could have left the driver’s cabin after he hit the brake and activated the train’s whistle, but he continued to sound the whistle in the expectation that the truck would leave the railway crossing immediately to avoid being hit and to simultaneously warn other people about the imminent danger.
Tsai was found to have done more than what was required of him according to standard operating procedures and was deemed to have risked his life to save the passengers aboard, the report added.
The new ruling paved the way for Tsai’s family to receive an additional NT$2 million (US$66,500) in compensation from the government, according to the Ministry of Civil Service.