Almost 50 Dead As Taiwan Train Derails Inside Tunnel

Yolanda Curtis
April 3, 2021

The National Fire Service confirmed the death toll - which included the train's young, newly married driver and the assistant driver - and said more than 100 people were injured.

Officials believe the train was carrying more than 400 people.

The fire department showed a picture of what appeared to be wreckage of the truck beside the derailed train, with an aerial image of one end of the train still on the track next to the construction site.

In a tweet, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said emergency services "have been fully mobilized to rescue & assist the passengers & railway staff affected".

Taiwan rail crash site

The accident occurred on Taiwan's eastern railway line around 9.30am (0130 GMT) near the coastal city of Hualien. And there were other people on top of the seats.

Images showed an injured passenger carried away on a stretcher, with her head and neck in a brace, while others gathered suitcases and bags in a tilted, derailed carriage as some walked on the roof of the train to leave the tunnel.

She later told reporters that she will do all she can to provide the maximum support for the survivors and families of the deceased.

"We broke the window to climb to the roof of the train to get out", she added.

The train was travelling from Taipei, the capital, to the southeastern city of Taitung.

During the festival, people return to ancestral villages to tidy up the graves of their relatives and make offerings.

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 coastline.

With the help of multiple tunnels and bridges, it winds its way through towering mountains and dramatic gorges before entering the picturesque Huadong Valley.

Friday's crash looks set to be one of Taiwan's worst railway accidents in recent decades. Many passengers were tourists or people traveling to see family ahead of a yearly religious holiday.

That crash was the island's worst since 1991, when 30 passengers were killed and 112 injured after two trains collided in Miaoli.

Taiwan media said many people were standing as the train was so crowded, and were tossed about by the crash impact.

In their latest rescue operation update, police said 36 passengers were classified as "out of hospital cardiac arrest" - a term for someone showing no signs of life.

Other reports by iNewsToday