Tue, Oct 29, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Reports due next August on train, bridge disasters

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The results of investigations into the collapse of the Nanfangao Bridge (南方澳橋) in Yilan County on Oct. 1 and the derailment of Puyuma Express No. 6432 in October last year are to be published in August next year, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday.

Board Chairman Young Hong-tsu (楊宏智) said on the sidelines of a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee that the board would need another eight to 10 months to finish its investigations into the cause of the collapse of the bridge in Suao Township (蘇澳).

All the factual information would emerge in three to four months after researchers from the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology and other agencies analyze the evidence, Young said.

The board is still collecting evidence, board executive director Kuan Wen-lin (官文霖) said, adding that the Yilan District Prosecutors’ Office and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ Maritime Port Bureau are also involved in the investigation into the bridge incident, which killed six people and injured 12.

The focus of the investigation would be on erosion and damage to rivets on the bridge’s main arch, as well as its decks, which are now in the water, Kuan said, adding that 80 percent the evidence that had been collected was stored in Warehouse No. 8 at the port.

“All parties involved in the investigation have reached a consensus that this evidence should be examined by experts at the institute first, then at the National Center of Earthquake Engineering and by the Taiwan Professional Civil Engineers’ Association,” Kuan said.

The evidence collected by prosecutors after the Puyuma Express derailment, which killed 18 people and injured 288 on Oct. 21 last year, has all been transferred to the board, Young said.

“We are also checking whether any information is missing,” he said, adding that “the most important data are those recorded on the automatic train protection system.”

“We would be able to determine whether the system’s SIM card is damaged,” Young said.

Data on the train protection and management system in the first cabin are intact, and the board would cross-examine them against what was on the same system in Cabin No. 8, which was twisted in the derailment, he said.

The method would ensure that the statistics are reliable, he said.

“The Executive Yuan only spent two months collecting and analyzing evidence, which to us is inadequate,” Young said. “We now have railway experts who can review it.”

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