The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday called for an investigation into the “systemic causes” of a train derailment on Friday last week.
The deadliest accident involving a Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) train in 40 years happened after Taroko Express No. 408, heading from New Taipei City to Taitung, hit a crane truck that had slid down a hill and onto the rails shortly before the train arrived at Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林).
Yesterday, the Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office revised the death toll from 51 people to 50, following DNA testing.
Following confirmation by the Executive Yuan that Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) had offered a verbal resignation, the KMT said in a statement yesterday that taking political responsibility is the “bare minimum” that the Democratic Progressive Party should do as the ruling party.
A thorough investigation into the “systemic causes” of the incident and “supervisory responsibility” for it is essential, it said.
Such an investigation should answer questions such as why the TRA has “lacked professional leadership” since the retirement of the agency’s director-general in January, when Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chi Wen-chung (祁文中) became acting director-general, the KMT added.
It should also answer why a contractor with a poor record was still awarded contracts, it said.
Prosecutors should conduct a comprehensive investigation into contractors possibly connected to the incident, it said.
However, the TRA cannot shirk its responsibility as the supervisory agency, the KMT said.
A TRA staff member who reportedly proposed on an internal chat group that the agency avoid responsibility for the incident should be investigated, the KMT said.
Along with continuing to pray, people must be held accountable to prevent such accidents, it added.
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