Empty tank truck collides with bus in Kaohsiung, killing one

Kaohsiung, Aug. 12 (CNA) An empty tank truck collided head-on with a commuter bus in Kaohsiung late Monday, killing the driver of the truck and injuring 18 people on the bus, according to the police. The tanker's driver, identified only by his family name of Hsieh, showed no signs of life when rescuers removed his body from his badly damaged vehicle. The driver of the bus, surnamed Hung, suffered a broken leg in the accident and was boxed into his seat, making it difficult for rescuers to get him out. Aother 17 people on the bus suffered various injuries, and they were all rushed to nearby hospitals. One of them was in serious condition. The tanker was headed to Taiwan VCM Corp. in Linyuan District in Kaohsiung to transport vinyl chloride monomer the next day, according to the police. Vinyl chloride monomer is a flammable and highly toxic gas used to manufacture PVC and is deadly when inhaled in high concentrations. According to police, the empty tanker crossed the road's dividing line into the opposite lane in heavy rain late Monday and collided head-on with the bus, which was carrying workers from state-run oil company CPC Corp., Taiwan, who had just completed their night shift. The driver of the tanker desperately hit his brakes to try and avoid the fatal accident, leaving long tire marks on the road, the police said. The accident comes at a time when Kaohsiung residents were still reeling from a series gas explosions on July 31 that ripped through downtown roads, killing 30 and injuring more than 300. Kaohsiung authorities have since banned the use of the city's underground pipelines, which were blamed for the explosions. That has forced many petrochemical companies to use tank trucks to transport their materials or products, which may end being more dangerous than the underground pipelines, some experts have warned. (By Maubo Chang)