A report into a deadly rail incident in Taichung on May 10, in which a crane boom fell onto an MRT track, said that station staff had only 15 seconds to stop a train before it smashed into the crane.
The Taiwan Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday published a report detailing issues related to the incident that resulted in the death of one passenger and injured 15.
When the crane boom fell from a construction site near Feng-le Park Station onto the Taichung MRT’s Green Line, a security guard on the platform waved to the onboard MRT staff member in a bid to get her to stop the train, the report said.
Photo courtesy of Taichung Mass Rapid Transit Corp via CNA
However, the onboard staff member failed to understand what the security guard was signaling, said the board, an independent government agency responsible for investigating transportation incidents.
The crane boom fell onto the track at 12:27:03pm on May 10 and the train departed the station 26 seconds later at 12:27:29pm, the report said.
Despite the security guard waving to warn the onboard staff member about the crane boom two seconds after it hit the elevated tracks at 12:27:31pm, the staff member had little time to react, the report said, adding that the train crashed into the crane at 12:27:46pm, 15 seconds after the guard tried to warn those on board.
In the wake of the incident, Taichung Metro chief of operations Hsu Tai-ming (許泰銘) told reporters that stopping the train from the traffic control center or activating the onboard emergency brake via a computer take about 20 seconds, indicating that MRT staff had insufficient time to prevent the crash.
The incident occurred when workers at a Highwealth Construction Corp site near Feng-le Park Station were dismantling a dock tower crane, the report said, adding that the crane boom fell because the machine being used to lower it was faulty.
Over the past six months, the board said that it has inspected surveillance footage recorded at the metro station, inside the train and provided by the traffic control center, while also reviewing documents, procedures, systems and regulations.
An additional 21 people were also interviewed, including the operator of Taichung Mass Rapid Transit Corp, personnel from the Taichung Transportation Bureau, the construction site operator and the crane boom supplier.
The final draft of the report is to be finished by May, the board said.
It is to include data, analyses and findings from the crash, as well as proposals for improvements.
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