Dozens of individuals are killed during a train derailment on the East Coast of Taiwan, the island’s worst rail disaster in decades.The 408 Taroko Express was travelling south on the primary day of an extended weekend, carrying many passengers towards Taitung, when it crashed inside a tunnel just outside Hualien City at about 9.30am civil time , authorities said.
Dozens of individuals were trapped for hours as rescuers sought to access the “deformed” carriages stuck inside the tunnel.By mid-afternoon on Friday, a minimum of 51 people, including the train’s 33-year-old driver and a six-year-old girl, were reported by the transport ministry to possess died. Quite 150 were taken to hospitals with injuries, two of whom later died, and 15 were discharged after examination. Of the dead, 40 people are yet to be identified. The train driver was a recently married young man from Taipei, Taiwan’s United Daily News (UDN) reported.
One passenger told the official press agency CNA that he heard a bang then fell unconscious. When he woke, it had been dark and other people were using their phones to light the carriage. “I couldn't bear to seem . many of us were lying down,” he said.The explanation for the crash is under investigation, but police said early indications suggested a maintenance vehicle parked incorrectly on a road above the tracks slipped down an embankment, hitting the rear carriages of the train. Most of the fatalities were within the rear two carriages, authorities said.
Footage and photos of the incident reveal scenes of devastation, with one carriage torn apart, et al. flipped on their side or crushed against the tunnel walls. An upturned yellow truck, believed to be the upkeep vehicle, was leaning wrecked against the side of Capitol Hill .In a video posted on social media, one man who filmed the immediate aftermath, said: “Our train has hit the truck, the truck has fallen down. The train is deformed now, I’m lucky I didn’t lose my arms … Lucky that i used to be in carriage four, there must be casualties.”
The driver of the upkeep vehicle wasn't in it when it slid down the slope, a police spokeswoman said. He was taken to Chongde police headquarters for questioning.Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, said emergency services had been mobilised to rescue and assist passengers and staff, which she had ordered hospitals to organize for mass casualties. “We will still do everything we will to make sure their safety within the wake of this heartbreaking incident,” she added.
Hundreds of emergency and military personnel, vehicles and aircraft were dispatched to the scene, where a minimum of 70 people were trapped for hours. the ultimate two passengers were freed by 4pm.Footage from local news broadcasts showed people climbing out of carriages and walking along the roofs to flee from the tunnel.
Some passengers were over excited on stretchers, while many walked out of the less damaged carriages along the tracks and out of the tunnel.One woman told UDN they broke a window to hop on to the roof of the train to flee . “It felt like there was a sudden violent jolt and that i found myself falling to the ground ,” she said of the crash.
The crash occurred on the morning of the primary day of a four-day weekend, marking the normal Tomb Sweeping holiday when people attend to the graves of loved ones and honour the dead. It typically coincides with increased travel across Taiwan, and therefore the BBC reported the train was thought to be carrying about 490 people.
The 408 is one among the fastest on Taiwan’s regular train network, reaching speeds of up to 130km/h (80mph). It runs along the favored East Coast region, including through the dramatic mountains and gorges near Taroko park , via tunnels and bridges.Friday’s crash is Taiwan’s worst rail disaster in decades. In 2018, 18 people died and 175 were injured when a train derailed in Yilan, about 60 miles (100km) north of Friday’s crash site. A collision in northern Taiwan in 1981 killed 30 people.