At least 66 people have been sent to hospital, and two are still to be detained.
At 11 o’clock on Friday morning, the fire service states that at least 48 people have been confirmed dead, reports the news agency AFP.
The accident was triggered by a truck that fell from a cliff over the railway and landed on the railway track.
– It was a construction vehicle that was not parked properly, and slid down the track. We are working to get more clarity in the course of events, says the local police chief Tsai Ding-hsien according to Reuters.
The train was just about to exit a tunnel and hit the vehicle. Some of the train cars hit the wall in the tunnel, reports Reuters. Four carriages were out of the tunnel.
Several carriages inside the tunnel
Rescue crews on site are now trying to get into four carriages that have suffered major material damage, and which are difficult to access inside the tunnel.
Several passengers have climbed out through windows and doors.
– It felt like a violent shock, and I fell to the floor. We smashed the window and climbed onto the roof to get out, a female passenger told the TV channel UDN.
There were around 350 passengers on board the eight-car train. According to local media, the train was so full that several of them were standing when it collided.
The accident happened on the way from Taipei to Taitung, near the coastal city of Hualien, at 9.30 local time.
The train line runs along the coast, and is popular with tourists. This long weekend, many are traveling to mark the Qingming Festival, a public holiday in honor of the dead.
The previous major fatal accident on the railway in Taiwan happened on the same train line in 2018. 18 people died, and the train driver was charged with negligent homicide.
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