Taiwan train crash on Friday saw at least 41 people dead and 60 injured. The train, an express travelling from Taipei to Taitung carrying many tourists at the start of a long weekend, came off the rails after apparently hitting a truck north of Hualien in eastern Taiwan.
The Taiwan train crash is said to be the worst rail disaster in at least four decades. Images of the crash scene show carriages inside the tunnel ripped apart from the impact, while others crumpled, hindering rescuers from reaching passengers.
The train was full, carrying around 350 people, the fire department said. Between 80 and 100 passengers were evacuated from the first four carriages of the train, while carriages five to eight have ‘deformed’ and are hard to gain access to, it added. In footage released by the fire department, a lady can be heard shouting from inside the tunnel: ‘Is everyone out in carriage four?’ The official Central News Agency reported that a truck that was ‘not parked properly’ was suspected of sliding into the path of the train.
The fire department showed a picture of the Taiwan train crash and what appeared to be the truck’s wreckage lying next to the derailed train. One man said in a video aired on Taiwanese television, showing pictures of the wreckage:
‘Our train crashed into a truck. The truck came falling down.’ The front part of the train was situated outside the tunnel, and those in carriages still inside the tunnel were being led to safety, Taiwan’s railway administration said. Images showed passengers gathering suitcases and bags in a tilted, derailed carriage and others walking along the tracks littered with wreckage.
The accident occurred at the start of a long weekend for the traditional Tomb Sweeping Day. Taiwan’s mountainous east coast is a popular tourist destination, and the railway line from Taipei down the east coast is renowned for its tunnels and route that hugs the coast just north of Hualien where the crash occurred. In 2018, 18 people died and 175 were injured when a train derailed in northeastern Taiwan. And in 1981, 30 were killed in a collision in the northern part of the country.