News in Chinese:
In English, more details:
The roof of the bus was ripped off and passengers flew out of the bus, reports said. Out of the 44 passengers, 11 were still being treated in hospital Tuesday. The crash amounted to the most serious road accident in Taiwan for 30 years.
The 33th fatality announced Tuesday was an unnamed man who succumbed to his injuries at the Taipei Municipal Wanfang Hospital.
The ages of the victims ranged from 21 to 68, with most of them in their 50s and 60s.
The precise cause of the accident has not been announced yet, but theories mentioned included speed 20 kilometers per hour over the 60 kph limit and driver fatigue after at least 14 hours at the wheel.
Iris Travel Agency Co., Ltd., which owned the bus, said the driver, a man surnamed Kang who was among the fatalities, had received 24 hours of rest before venturing out on Monday’s trip, but his daughter told the media Tuesday that he had only had one day off over the 16 days since the start of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Kang had been working as a bus driver for more than five years, and each day he left for work between 5 and 6 and the morning and came home between 10 and 11, his daughter said.
Even on his one recent day off, on February 10, he had not returned home until 8 in the morning and gone back out during the afternoon to check his vehicle, according to his daughter. The bus was 19 years old but had passed all safety tests, though some media reports claimed the seats were only fastened by metal wiring. Other buses of the same type were being checked Tuesday.
Penalties are being considered... won't work, but will placate some. Government as usual cannot bring down the elephant in the middle of the room -cough, overwork fatigue karoshi- and looks for boggie men among the shadows...
Taipei, Feb. 14 (CNA) The operating license of the tour bus company involved in one of Taiwan's deadliest traffic accidents in history will be revoked, Transportation Minister Ho Chen Tan (賀陳旦) said Tuesday.
Due to the heavy casualties involved, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) will revoke the operating license of the company that operated the tour bus -- Yeow Lih Transportation (友力通運) -- and thoroughly review the MOTC's supervisory system, he said.
Ho Chen said the ministry has in the past conducted regular assessments of the operations of tour bus companies based on public safety and quality, but he admitted that it has not done enough to weed out inferior companies.
"Those companies that have performed poorly should be reported and monitored," he said.
He said his ministry will conduct new inspections of tour bus companies with subpar evaluations in the past within the next two weeks.
Those companies that do not pass muster will be required to make improvements or face the suspension of all or part of their operations, Ho Chen warned.
The ministry will also look into the records of drivers working for those tour bus companies to see if they have committed traffic violations in the past and ask the companies to see whether they should continue to employ those drivers with tainted records.
"The bus companies have to work with the government to put the public at ease," he said.