10 charged with manslaughter over Taichung MRT
Ten people were accused of cutting corners on a Mass Rapid Transit project in Taichung and were indicted on manslaughter charges Wednesday, two months after an accident on the construction site resulted in four deaths and four injuries.
The accident occurred on April 10, when a massive steel girder fell from a height of about three stories onto a busy road, killing a vehicle driver and three construction workers.
The Taichung District Prosecutors Office said the accident occurred because a number of contractors on the project had employed cost-cutting methods and failed to put safety measures in place when a crane was lifting the 209-metric ton steel girder.
The 10 people charged with manslaughter are engineers, managers and on-site supervisors from a number of companies involved in the project, including China Steel Structure Co., a downstream contractor of Far Eastern General Contractor that made the steel girder; a crane rental company; and two other construction contractors.
In addition, the contractors had also ignored safety guidelines that stipulated steel girders should only be raised in the period 11:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. with strict traffic control measures in place, investigators said.
The Taichung City government said that it respects the prosecutors’ decision and wants the project, which was suspended after the accident, to resume as soon as possible.
“The ruling vindicates the Taichung City government,” said Wang Yi-chuan, director-general of Taichung’s Transportation Bureau.
Taipei’s Rapid Transit Department, which is managing the project, had come under fire earlier for saying that the safety guidelines did not prohibit the hoisting of steel girders during the daytime.
Wang said that he hopes to establish better safety measures, in collaboration with the Taipei Rapid Transit Department, and complete the project without further incident.