World

Driver in fatal Taiwan tour bus crash was overworked, says daughter

TAIPEI The daughter of the driver of the ill-fated Taiwanese bus, identified as Miss Kang Yi-jen, claimed that her father was overworked.

"I think he was fatigued while driving," Taiwanese media quoted her as saying.

"My father worked very hard to pay our mortgage and tuition, but they are trying to lay the blame on him."

The group of 44 had been returning from a farm in the central Taichung region when their bus veered off a highway on Monday night on the outskirts of Taipei.

Thirty-three people were killed in one of the island's worst accidents. The bus driver was among the dead.

Some reports claimed the driver of the bus had been working for 14 hours straight.

"Through a highway surveillance camera, the bus was speeding at the time of the accident," a highway police officer said.

FATIGUED

"(Police) do not rule out that possibility the bus driver was fatigued due to long hours of work..."

But a Travel Agent Association of Taiwan spokesman said the driver had "sufficient rest", AFP reported.

The driver had two outstanding traffic violations, including one for not wearing a seat belt, but no drink-driving record, according to the transport ministry.

Dashcam footage reportedly from a vehicle behind the bus shows it turning off the main highway onto an adjoining road. It then flipped over.

One rescue worker told reporters: "It was like a hell with body parts of some victims scattered around the bloodstained bus.

"Some of the bodies were found metres away from the bus, along with a dozen seats apparently tossed out of the coach after its top was torn apart."

Meanwhile, distraught relatives gathered to mourn their loved ones.

The relatives returned to the scene of the accident yesterday to perform a religious ritual for the dead. One family member said the agency that organised the trip should "take responsibility" for the disaster.

Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung said the victims' families would each receive NT$6 million (S$275,000) in compensation.

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