Truck landed on train track minute before deadly Taiwan crash

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
An aerial view shows workers checking damaged carriages at the site of a derailed train accident on the mountains of Hualien, eastern Taiwan on 6 April, 2021.
An aerial view shows workers checking damaged carriages at the site of a derailed train accident on the mountains of Hualien, eastern Taiwan on 6 April, 2021.
Sam Yeh / AFP
  • The truck which collided with a Taiwanese express train slid onto the tracks only around one minute before the accident happened.
  • The truck had slid down a sloping road from a building site onto the tracks just outside a tunnel near the eastern city of Hualien on Friday.
  • The chairperson of Taiwan's Transportation Safety Board showed recovered footage taken from inside the driver's cabin as he desperately tried to slow down before hitting the truck.


The truck which collided with a Taiwanese express train last week killing 50 people slid onto the tracks only around one minute before the accident happened, the government said on Tuesday, as it released dramatic footage of the impact.

The packed train carrying almost 500 passengers and crew slammed into a truck near the eastern city of Hualien on Friday, causing it to derail and the front and middle parts to crumple. It was the island's worst rail accident in seven decades.

The truck had slid down a sloping road from a building site onto the tracks just outside a tunnel. Officials suspect the truck's brakes were not properly applied and are investigating the manager of the site.

Young Hong-tsu, chairperson of Taiwan's Transportation Safety Board, said they had reconstructed how the truck had ended up on the rails, tracking its movements down the dirt road before it slipped off a bank and landed on the railway line, its front end facing the oncoming train.

Young showed recovered footage taken from inside the driver's cabin as he desperately tried to slow down before hitting the truck at the entrance to the tunnel, causing the train to de-rail.

He said, referring to the name of the train: 

How much time was there between this truck sliding onto the track and it hitting the Taroko express? Actually it was only a little bit more than one minute.

Young said the driver had no time to properly slow the train and avoid the accident as he had only seconds to react, the truck being on a bend and not visible until it was too late.

In a screenshot from the footage, the truck is clearly seen straddling the track, with leaves and branches sticking out of its front from when it slid down the wooded bank.

The victims included two Americans and one French national.

Young said Taiwanese authorities had been in touch with the US National Transportation Safety Board and France's transport safety body to see if they were interested in helping with the investigation.


Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When and why would you have your or your partner's sperm count checked?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
That's an unnecessary procedure
17% - 690 votes
As soon as we decide to start a family
7% - 297 votes
Only if we're struggling to conceive
76% - 3182 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
13.76
+0.1%
Rand - Pound
19.43
-0.1%
Rand - Euro
16.68
+0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.60
-0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.0%
Gold
1,855.31
-0.2%
Silver
27.73
+0.3%
Palladium
2,771.51
+0.4%
Platinum
1,150.50
-0.4%
Brent Crude
73.99
+1.6%
Top 40
61,062
0.0%
All Share
67,311
0.0%
Resource 10
64,119
0.0%
Industrial 25
88,248
0.0%
Financial 15
13,596
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo