Truck driver expresses his 'deepest apologies' for Taiwan train derailment that left 48 dead

The site manager whose truck resulted in a train derailment in Taiwan on Friday is seen addressing reporters on Sunday as he is led away from his home by police. YouTube/Bloomberg Quicktake: Now

  • A train derailed in Taiwan on Friday when it hit a truck on the tracks, killing 48 and injuring 198.

  • The construction manager said to be responsible for the truck said Sunday he deeply regrets the accident.

  • Investigators are looking into why the truck’s emergency brake was not properly engaged.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The construction site manager whose truck slid onto a railway track and led to a train derailment in Taiwan on Friday that left nearly 50 dead expressed his “sincerest apologies” as he was led away from his home by police on Sunday. Lee Yi-hsiang had tears in his eyes as he addressed reporters gathered outside his home. “I deeply regret this and express my deepest apologies.

I will definitely cooperate with the prosecutors and police in the investigation, accept the responsibility that should be borne, and never shirk it. Finally, I once again express my sincerest apologies,” Lee said, according to Reuters. According to CNN, Lee was initially granted bail on Saturday, but that decision was later revoked by a higher court, and Lee was taken back into custody on Sunday.

Lee was deemed a flight risk and revealed to have a previous conviction, according to the BBC, citing Taiwanese media.

The government’s disaster relief center said Lee’s emergency brake was not properly engaged when it slid down a hill onto the train tracks, with no time for the train’s conductor to respond, according to the Associated Press. Investigators will look into whether the emergency brake was not engaged due to a mechanical failure or negligence on Lee’s part, CNN reported. While officials initially pegged the death toll at 51, the number was lowered to 50 and then to 48 by Sunday.

Another 198 passengers were injured in the derailment, according to the AP. The train was packed, with many having to stand for the journey, due to the busy Tomb Sweeping Holidays, when people return to their hometowns to pay respect to their dead ancestors, according to the AP.
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Questions have been raised about why there wasn’t fencing to protect the truck from wandering onto the tracks.

Transport Minister Lin Chia-lung offered to resign over the disaster but his resignation was not accepted by Taiwan’s premier, according to Reuters.

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