Premier calls for thorough review following train derailment

  • Date: 2018-10-25
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

Premier Lai Ching-te on Thursday led Cabinet members before their weekly meeting in mourning, and offered his heartfelt condolences to the victims of the October 21 derailment of the Puyuma Express. Following a briefing on the accident by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), the premier expressed the government’s resolve to carry out a thorough investigation of the incident so that similar tragedies can be avoided.

Responsible ministries and agencies were ordered by Premier Lai to strictly implement a number of directives. First, the Executive Yuan has already established a special top-level administrative task force to investigate the accident, and the premier insisted that the investigation must be just, objective, unbiased, transparent and unflinching in order to restore public trust.

Second, the MOTC should perform a comprehensive examination of the safety of all Puyuma Express trains. Until the ministry has completed this inspection, it should respect the opinions of specialists and require that trains proceed slowly when negotiating the curve at the Xinma Station. Follow-up inspections must also be carried out.

Third, the Taiwan Railways Administration must reflect on this painful event and undertake a massive review to remedy long-standing ailments. Targets should include management and operations at every level, in addition to the workforce, rolling stock and tracks. The premier expressed hope that the assessment would lead to greater safety and effectiveness, as well as a higher level of service.

Fourth, to engineer a more complete and fitting transportation environment, the Executive Yuan has decided to organize a transportation safety commission to be responsible for independently investigating all accidents occurring on land, sea and in the air. Premier Lai said that the necessary organic law and operational legislation will be submitted to the Legislature for review within one month.

Fifth, the Ministry of Health and Welfare should continue to provide assistance to major medical centers to ensure optimal care for hospitalized victims and those in intensive care. The ministry should also help with rehabilitation and home environments for patients following discharge. Aid must also be provided to the families of the dead and seriously wounded so that they may avoid adversities resulting from the accident.

Finally, the premier once again offered his condolences to accident victims and hoped for the rapid recovery of those injured. In addition to apologizing to the public at large, Premier Lai thanked the central and local governments, private organizations, and all those involved in rescue efforts, medical treatment and every other aspect of the response and recovery.