Premier pledges thorough review after deadly tour bus crash

Taipei--Premier Lin Chuan (??) on Tuesday promised that the government would engage in a "thorough review" in the wake of Taiwan's worst national freeway accident in Taipei that took 32 lives and injured 12 others overnight.

Visiting two hospitals where some of the injured had been taken, Lin said he felt "very distressed and saddened" over the accident, in which a tour bus carrying mostly senior citizens crashed off a ramp connecting Freeway No. 5 and Freeway No. 3 at about 9:00 p.m. Monday.

Both the bus driver and a tour guide perished in the accident, which occurred in Taipei's eastern district on Nangang.

The busload of passengers from Taipei were on their way home after a day of sightseeing at Wuling Farm in central Taiwan, a favorite tourist spot this time of year, when cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

The death toll could increase as the two injured being treated at Taipei Municipal Wanfang Hospital remained in critical condition, said Lin. The two others taken to the hospital were pronounced dead.

Lin promised to provide assistance to the victims' families with regard to funeral arrangements and added there would be a thorough review after the work at hand is completed.

Amid speculations that the driver might have fallen asleep at the wheel, the authorities began to investigate the cause of the incident, the deadliest crash on Taiwan's national freeway system, which is similar to the interstate highways in the United States and the motorways in the United Kingdom.

It is also Taiwan's worst road accident on record in over three decades. On Oct. 8, 1986, a tour bus crashed into a ravine in Guguan, which is in the western section of the winding Central Cross-Island Highway, leaving 42 people dead and three injured.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel