Sat, Apr 20, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Restructured agency expected to redo Puyuma crash probe

Staff writer, with CNA

A carriage from derailed Puyuma Express Train No. 6432 is moved near Sinma Train Station in Yilan County on Oct. 22 last year.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

The Aviation Safety Council (ASC) in August is to be restructured and designated as a national transportation safety council, responsible for investigating major transportation accidents, which could include the deadly Puyuma train crash in October last year, it said on Thursday.

The Legislative Yuan this month passed an amendment to the Organic Law of the Aviation Safety Council (飛航安全調查委員會組織法) to transform the agency, which is currently tasked with investigating aviation accidents, into a body that probes marine, railway, highway and aviation transportation accidents.

The amendment came after 18 people were killed and 210 injured in the derailment of eastbound Puyuma Express Train No. 6432 near Sinma (新馬) Train Station in Yilan County on Oct. 21 last year, the deadliest railway accident in Taiwan in nearly three decades.

ASC Chairman Young Hong-tsu (楊宏智), who has a background in engineering, said that once the new council begins operations, its first order of business would be whether to begin a new investigation of the derailment.

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

If a new investigation is launched, it would involve a full-scale inspection of all Puyuma express trains and the entire Taiwan Railways Administration system using a more rigorous scientific methodology to better determine what caused the derailment, he said.

The report on the incident presented by the Cabinet was based on insufficient evidence due to the low sophistication of on-site investigative mechanisms, he said.

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

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