TAIWAN’S NATIONAL FIRE AGENCY via VIA REUTERS
Dozens of people have been killed and more than 60 injured after a train derailed in a tunnel in eastern Taiwan, officials have said.
The crash, which also killed the train’s driver, is Taiwan’s worst train disaster in at least four decades.
The express train had been travelling from Taipei to Taitung when it apparently hit a truck that slid off a road and came off the rails north of Hualien, causing some carriages to hit the wall of the tunnel.
Local media have said a construction vehicle that was “not parked properly” was suspected of sliding onto the tracks.
Images of the crash scene show some carriages inside the tunnel crumbled and ripped apart from the impact.
Transport minister Lin Chia-lung told reporters on the scene that the train was carrying about 490 people – higher than an earlier fire department figure of 350.
FTV via VIA REUTERS
Many of those passengers were reported to have been standing because the train was full of people travelling at the start of the long weekend for the annual Qingming Tomb Sweeping Day.
Taiwanese media showed pictures of survivors being led out of the tunnel by rescuers.
One survivor told local television: “People just fell all over each other, on top of one another.
“It was terrifying. There were whole families there.”
The fire department showed a picture of what appeared to be the truck’s wreckage lying next to the derailed train, and an aerial image of the end of the train sitting on the track next to a construction site.
The last major train crash in Taiwan was in 2018, when an express train derailed on the northeast coast, killing at least 18 people and injuring nearly 200.