At least 41 individuals have been killed and greater than 60 injured after a Taiwanese train carrying nearly 500 passengers derailed in a tunnel on Friday when it apparently hit a truck that slid off a highway resulting in a close-by building website.
The crash, which additionally killed the train’s driver, is the island’s worst rail catastrophe in not less than 4 decades.
The train, an categorical travelling from Taipei to Taitung, got here off the rails north of Hualien in japanese Taiwan. It was carrying many vacationers and folks heading dwelling at the beginning of an extended weekend conventional vacation to are likely to household tombs.
Images of the crash scene confirmed carriages contained in the tunnel ripped aside from the affect, whereas others crumpled, hindering rescuers reaching passengers, although as of mid-afternoon solely two individuals remained trapped in the wreckage.
Transport Minister Lin Chia-lung informed reporters on the scene that the train was carrying about 490 individuals — greater than an earlier hearth division determine of 350.
Taiwan media mentioned many individuals have been standing because the train was so full, and have been thrown about when it crashed, and confirmed photos of survivors being led out the tunnel.
“People simply fell throughout one another, on prime of each other,” one feminine survivor informed native tv. “It was terrifying. There have been complete households there.”
The official Central News Agency mentioned a truck whose handbrake was not engaged was suspected of sliding off a sloping highway into the trail of the train, and that police had taken in the driving force for questioning.
The hearth division confirmed an image of what seemed to be the truck’s wreckage mendacity subsequent to the derailed train, and an aerial picture of the top of the train sitting on the observe subsequent to a building website.
‘The truck got here falling down’
“Our train crashed right into a truck,” one man mentioned in a video aired on Taiwanese tv, displaying photos of the wreckage. “The truck got here falling down.”
Part of the train was located exterior the tunnel, and people passengers in carriages nonetheless in the tunnel needed to be led to security, Taiwan’s railway administration mentioned.
Images confirmed an injured passenger being stretchered out of the crash scene, her head and neck in a brace, passengers gathering suitcases and luggage in a tilted, derailed carriage and others strolling out of the tunnel on the roof of the train.
The accident occurred at the beginning of an extended weekend for the standard Tomb Sweeping Day, when individuals return dwelling to take care of household grave websites.
Taiwan’s mountainous east coast is a well-liked vacationer vacation spot, and the railway line from Taipei down the east coast is famend for its tunnels and route that hugs the coast simply north of Hualien the place the crash occurred. The line connecting Taipei with Hualien was opened solely in 1979.
Taiwan’s state-owned railways are typically dependable and environment friendly, however have had a patchy security document through the years.
In 2018, 18 individuals died and 175 have been injured when a train derailed in northeastern Taiwan. In 1981, 30 have been killed in a collision in northern Taiwan, and in 1991 one other 30 died in a train crash.