Tour bus in­ferno: Rel­a­tives de­mand an­swers

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE China Daily con­trib­uted to this story.

Griev­ing rel­a­tives of 24 main­land tourists who died in a bus in­ferno in Tai­wan are de­mand­ing an­swers from au­thor­i­ties.

It was the worst road crash ever in­volv­ing vis­i­tors from the Chi­nese main­land. Two Tai­wan res­i­dents, the driver and a tour guide, also died.

The first group of 46 rel­a­tives ar­rived in Tai­wan on Thurs­day to iden­tify the bod­ies of their loved ones. Many broke down in tears as they vis­ited a fu­neral home where the bod­ies of vic­tims are be­ing kept.

Emo­tions ran high at a brief­ing hosted by Tai­wan of­fi­cials, with dis­traught rel­a­tives de­mand­ing to know the cause of the blaze and ques­tion­ing why no one was able to es­cape when fire ripped through the bus.

“The rel­a­tives de­manded the truth and asked about the res­cue process,” said Tang Wen-chi, a Tai­wan Tourism Bureau of­fi­cial who at­tended the late-night meet­ing on Thurs­day. Tang said some rel­a­tives wanted main­land ex­perts to take part in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Whyis there no truth af­ter so many days? Why can’t we find any­one to take re­spon­si­bil­ity?” un­named rel­a­tives were quoted as say­ing in Tai­wan’s United Daily News.

The re­port said some rel­a­tives ques­tioned whether the low cost of the tour was tied to in­creased safety risks, as driv­ers for such tours re­port­edly of­ten work over­time, lead­ing to fa­tigue.

The price for an eight-day is­land tour tai­lor-made for main­land groups, typ­i­cally costs less than NT$20,000 ($625).

The bus was a few kilo­me­ters from Taipei’s Taoyuan In­ter­na­tional Air­port, where pas­sen­gers planned to catch a flighthomeon Tues­day, when it was en­gulfed in flames and smashed through an ex­press­way bar­rier, killing all 26 on board, in­clud­ing the lo­cal driver and guide.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors are prob­ing the cause of the ac­ci­dent. They say the fire started at the front of the bus, near the driver’s seat.

Ques­tions are still swirling over why no one was able to es­cape­viatheemer­gen­cyex­its.

A pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion found ev­i­dence sug­gest­ing the fire be­gan near the driver’s seat. The driver had no crim­i­nal his­tory re­lated to driv­ing, a lo­cal pros­e­cu­tor was quoted by Xin­hua News Agency as say­ing on Fri­day.

Re­sults of al­co­hol and drug tests are still pend­ing.

Why is there no truth af­ter so many days? Why can’t we find any­one to take re­spon­si­bil­ity?” Un­named rel­a­tives quoted in Tai­wan’s United Daily News

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