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Taiwan driver granted bail after 18 killed in train crash

The driver, You Zhen-zhong, 48, was granted bail of $16,167 after he was detained for investigation, the Taiwan Railways Administration said.

Firefighters and emergency personnel carry on rescue operations after the Puyuma Express train derailed at high speed between Dongshan and Suxin causing at least 18 dead and injuring over 150, in Taiwan's Yilan county on 21 October 2018. Picture: AFP

YILAN - The driver of a train that derailed in Taiwan killing 18 people and injuring 187, was granted bail on Tuesday after being detained in connection with the island’s worst rail disaster in decades.

The driver, You Zhen-zhong, 48, was granted bail of $16,167 after he was detained for investigation, the Taiwan Railways Administration said.

You had been treated in hospital following the accident on Sunday in Yilan county, in the island’s mountainous northeast.

An initial inquiry found that speeding might have been the cause of the accident, the official Central News Agency said.

The train came off the rails on a curve while moving at close to 87 miles per hour (140 kmh), above the speed limit of 46 mph (74 kmh), the news agency reported, citing the head of the investigation team, Wu Ze-cheng.

More investigation was needed to determine the cause, he said.

The train data recorder, which tracks speed, among other things, had been sent to prosecutors to be examined.

The disaster was Taiwan’s deadliest rail accident since a 1981 collision that killed 30 people.

The head of the state railway administration, Lu Jie-shen, had offered to resign but that was not accepted by the transport minister, the railway authority said.