Family members of Chinese tourists killed in a traffic accident in central Taiwan yesterday took a last look at their loved ones and thanked local residents for their assistance in dealing with the aftermath of the accident that took place earlier this week.
However, they also demanded that Taiwan authorities conduct a thorough investigation in order to find the cause of the crash and to prevent a similar accident from happening again.
The bodies of the five Chinese tourists and one Taiwanese tour guide have all been identified by their family members and will be cremated this morning after which the remains will be taken home.
A prosecutor yesterday issued death certificates for the victims so that their relatives could complete all legal procedures before heading home.
The bus, carrying 20 Chinese tourists and a Taiwanese tour guide, skidded off Highway No. 21, better known as the Central Cross-Island Highway, en route to Shuili from Tungpu in central Nantou County Monday evening.
A total of six people were killed in the accident, and 15 other Chinese tourists were injured, with two still considered to be in serious condition.
A 26-member delegation, composed of 19 family members of the Chinese tourists who were killed or injured in the accident, and seven Chinese tourism officials and travel industry executives arrived in Taipei late Wednesday to help deal with the aftermath.
Officials from Taiwan's Tourism Bureau, Mainland Affairs Council and the Straits Exchange Foundation greeted the Chinese delegation at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and assisted them in passing through the immigration inspection and customs processes.
The Chinese delegation then traveled directly to Nantou where the bodies of the five deceased Chinese tourists were awaiting identification. Meanwhile, 19 other Chinese tourists who were not injured because they were on a different bus left for home via Hong Kong.
Huang Dazhung, deputy director of the Dalian City Tourism Bureau who is heading the Chinese delegation, thanked Taiwan's authorities and the private sector for their assistance on behalf of family members of the victims. It is hoped that the aftermath can be handled smoothly and the cause of the tragedy be determined, he added.
Family members of each of the five deceased Chinese tourists will receive NT$5.5 million in compensation, while the 15 injured in the accident may each receive up to NT$480,000 in damages, said Tourism Bureau officials.
The compensation for the Chinese tourists who died covers casualty insurance and auto liability insurance policies purchased by the host travel agency and tour bus company for all Chinese tourists as well as subsidies from a Taipei tour bus operators association, the officials said.
The Tourism Bureau has slapped the local travel agency with a fine of NT$50,000 for negligence in failing to protect clients' travel safety that wound up claiming the lives of six people and injuring 15 others in the bus crash.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the bureau said the travel agency should not have rented a coach driven by an inexperienced driver who obtained his bus driver's license less than three years ago. Worse still, the travel agency allowed the bus to travel along a section of road that is off-limits to large vehicles, the statement said.