Taipei-Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) will pay NT$15.7 million (US$563,000) in compensation to the families of the 49 people who were killed in a Taroko express train crash in Hualien County on April 2, the agency said Tuesday.
TRA indicated it would first make the payments and then take legal action to claim compensation from the contractors held liable for the deadliest TRA train crash in decades on behalf of the victim’s families, as such law suits can take years, TRA officials said.
The figure of NT$15.7 million is based on the amount the TRA paid to the families of 18 people killed in the 2018 derailment of a Puyuma express train in Yilan County.
If the compensation the TRA is ultimately awarded through the lawsuit is higher than NT$15.7 million, it undertakes to pay the families more, but if it is less the agency will absorb the shortfall, the TRA said.
On Tuesday, new Transport Minister Wang Kwo-tsai (???) instructed the TRA to deal with matters relating to compensation for the Taroko train crash victims as quickly as possible.
Wang assumed the office on April 20 to replace Lin Chia-lung (???) after Lin resigned to take responsibility for the deadly train accident.
Soon after the crash occurred, the TRA paid each family NT$100,000 in “consolation money” and NT$2.5 million in compensation, according to the TRA.
The accident occurred when a crane truck tumbled down a steep incline and onto the railway line near the entrance to a tunnel in Hualien, shortly before the express train carrying nearly 500 people approached.
According to the Hualien District Prosecutors Office, the truck driver and owner Lee Yi-hsiang (???) was working on a slope stabilization project near the tracks at the time, and the truck became stuck on the hillside as he was trying to make a turn.
Using an excavator, Lee tried to hoist the truck back up the slope, but the strap he was using broke, and the truck rolled down onto the train track, prosecutors said.
Following the crash, Lee, the contractor for the TRA maintenance project in the area, was arrested and charged with negligence causing death, while three other people involved in the project were also indicted on the same charge, according to the district prosecutors office.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel