Taiwan train crash driver disabled speed controls

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Rescue workers work at the site where a train derailed in Yilan county, Taiwan October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

YILAN (Reuters) – The driver of a train in Taiwan that crashed killing 18 people and injuring 187 others has told a court he had switched off its speed-control system, a court official said, as investigators pieced together events that led to the island’s worst rail crash in decades.

The train came off the rails on Sunday on a curve while moving at almost 87 miles per hour (140 kmh), nearly twice the speed limit of 46 mph (74 kmh), in the island’s mountainous northeast, the head of a government investigation team said.

A spokesman for Taiwan Yilan District Court said the driver, You Zhen-zhong, 48, told his bail hearing he switched off the system himself to boost the train’s power when it had slowed down on an earlier stretch of the journey.

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Mr You was granted bail of T$500,000 ($16,167) and barred from leaving Taiwan after being detained for the investigation.

Chief investigator Wu Ze-cheng said more investigation was needed to determine why the driver failed to turn the protection system back on.

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