The extent of the damage is unknown, after a train with 350 passengers derailed in Taiwan on Good Friday. At least 36 people have died and about 70 are trapped in the wreck, reports Reuters.
An express train derailed Friday morning local time in a tunnel in eastern Taiwan. According to local police, a truck that fell on the track may have triggered the accident.
– 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 in the aisle. Several of the eight passenger cars crashed into the tunnel walls, reports Reuters.
– Our train collided with a truck, says a male passenger to Taiwanese TV.
The country’s transport ministry states that at least 36 people have died, while about 70 are still in the wreckage, reports the news agency Reuters.
“Rescuing those trapped is our top priority now,” Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said, according to the BBC.
61 have been taken to five local hospitals, Taiwan News reports.
According to the news agency AP, there must have been 350 passengers on board. It will be the worst train crash on the island in at least four decades.
The full train was on its way from Shulin in the new Taipei to Taitung, when it derailed in a tunnel north of Hualien. Several of the eight carriages are said to have hit the wall in the tunnel.
– There was a sudden, violent jerk, and I fell to the floor. We smashed windows to climb to the roof of the carriage, says an unidentified woman to the TV channel UDN.
According to CNN, between 80 and 100 people have been rescued from the train’s first four carriages. The last four will be severely battered and difficult for the rescue crews to reach, the channel writes.
The front part of the Taroko Express is outside the tunnel.
According to the railway administration, most of the dead have been found in the last two carriages. About 70 passengers are still trapped in the wreckage.
It is unclear what caused the accident, but local media write that a incorrectly parked truck may have rolled down a steep slope and been left in the tracks.
Construction work is underway on the motorway, which runs parallel to the railway. Pictures from the fire service show the wreckage of a construction vehicle lying next to the train.
The accident happened at the beginning of an outing weekend. Taiwanese travel to visit the graves of friends and family and sacrifice to their spirits.
Taiwan’s mountainous east coast is a popular tourist destination. The railway line from Taipei is known for its tunnels, where the accident occurred.
In 2018, 18 people died and 175 were injured when a train derailed in northeastern Taiwan. In 1981, 30 people were killed and 112 injured in a train collision in northern Taiwan, according to Reuters.
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