A train derailed in Taiwan, leaving dozens dead and wounded
(CNN) – Authorities said a passenger train carrying 490 people derailed in a tunnel in eastern Taiwan, killing at least 51 people and wounding dozens, while rescue efforts continued to free the trapped.
The government-run Central News Agency (CNA), citing the fire department, said the eight-car train, which was heading to Taitung, derailed in a tunnel north of Hualien City on Friday morning, causing several cars to collide with the tunnel wall. .
The fire department told the country’s executive office that the train driver was among 51 dead. About 66 survivors are being treated at least six hospitals in and around Hualien County, while an unknown number of people are still trapped in railroad cars that were badly damaged in the accident.
What might have caused the train to derail?
According to the Central News Agency, the cause of the derailment was that a vehicle slipped from a ramp near the tunnel and collided with a moving train.
A video clip on social media showed parts of heavy equipment for a commercial vehicle, along with what appeared to be a car door next to the derailed train. In the video clip, a man can be heard saying: “Our train collided with the truck. Where are we? Qingshui Tunnel, accident happened in Qingshui Tunnel. The train collided with the truck and the truck fell off. Fortunately I was in the last car, I was in the fourth car.
A woman’s voice was heard screaming from inside the tunnel, in video clips provided by the firefighters: “Are everyone in the car four?”
Pictures from the scene of the accident show cars inside the tunnel that were smashed in the collision, passengers picking up bags and suitcases from a derailed and tilted car, and others walking along paths full of debris. Photos show a rescue operation underway, as passengers walk on the train to exit the tunnel and be helped to disembark.
“In response to the derailment of a train in Hualien, Taiwan, our emergency services have been fully mobilized to rescue and assist the affected passengers and railway personnel,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Twitter. “We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure his safety after this tragic accident.”
The accident coincided exactly with the start of a long weekend on Grave’s Cleaning Day weekend. A couple on the train told the Cyprus News Agency that they were heading to Taitung to sweep the graves and respect the deceased relatives, as is customary on this date. The train was so crowded that many people were standing.
The crash site is located east of the picturesque Taroko National Park, a popular tourist destination on the country’s mountainous east coast.
In 2018, 18 people were killed and 175 injured when a train derailed in northeastern Taiwan, in the island’s worst rail disaster in more than three decades.
Additional information from Reuters