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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.

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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