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Social media influencer 49th victim of Taiwan train derailment


A social media influencer was on Monday identified as the 49th victim of a fatal train accident which killed at least 50 people in eastern Taiwan on April 2, state-run media reported.

Prosecutor Yu Hsiu-duan in Hualien said the identification was based on DNA profiling, the official Central News Agency reported.

The derailment in Hualien County involved a maintenance truck which slid from a slope near a construction site above the tracks.

The front of an eight-carriage train with nearly 500 people on board travelling from Taipei to eastern Taitung County hit the vehicle shortly before entering a tunnel.

The newly-identified victim, named as Wu Hsiang-chen, was on his way to a competition held by Taitung County Government for social media influencers to promote the scenic east coast, local media reported.

Taitung County Commissioner, Yao Ching-ling said that Wu won the competition and was about to be based there from April 2 to April 13.

Wu’s mother expressed her anger over the railway operator’s selling of standing-only tickets during the long weekend, which her son reportedly had.

Some 122 passengers had standing tickets when the derailment occurred.

Prosecutors urged the public to offer possible clues about the last unidentified victim, a female.

Transportation and Communications Minister, Lin Chia-lung, said that he would shoulder political responsibility, hinting that he might resign when everything has been dealt with.

“It will be a long road for family of the victims and the injured.  We will be with them,’’ Lin told reporters, adding that the ministry will address issues including compensation and medical bills.

The Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC) said that each victim’s family members will be firstly given 5.4 million Taiwan dollars (189,225 US dollars) as compensation.

The accident left more than 210 injured.

More than 30 of those injured are receiving treatment in hospital, including three in intensive care, the CEOC said.

A construction site manager who is believed to have failed to engage the maintenance truck’s brake properly was taken into custody on April 4, by a court order. (Dpa/NAN)

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