Train derails in Taiwan tunnel killing 34
2021-04-02 at 11:31
At least 34 people have died after a train carrying some 350 passengers derailed inside a tunnel in Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operation centre says rescuers are struggling to access four carriages inside the tunnel that are “badly damaged”.
More than 72 people are injured said Reuters, quoting the local transport ministry.
The accident occurred at the start of the annual Tomb Sweeping festival, a typically high traffic period.
Pictures online showed people in unaffected carriages walking along train tracks with their belongings.
“It felt like there was a sudden violent jolt and I found myself falling to the floor,” an unidentified female survivor told Taiwan’s UDN.
“We broke the window to climb to the roof of the train to get out.”
According to Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, a number of people still remain trapped inside the train.
“Emergency rescue mechanisms have been put in place for the sick and injured. Rescuing those trapped is our highest priority now.”
The eight-carriage train is believed to have derailed at around 09:00 local time (01:00 GMT). Local media reports say the accident occurred when a maintenance vehicle fell onto the path of the train.
Many of those on the train are believed to be tourists celebrating the Tomb Sweeping festival – a time when people visit the graves of friends and family, sprucing them up and making offerings to their spirits.
People typically travel during this time to pay their respects to the dead.
Reuters quoting the fire department, said that up to 100 people were evacuated from four of the train’s carriages.
“An accident occurred this morning at a tunnel in Hualien,” said Tsai.
Today’s crash appears to be one of Taiwan’s worst accidents in decades.
The last major train derailment in Taiwan was in 2018, which left 18 people dead. The island’s worst crash in recent history was in 1991, when 30 passengers were killed and 112 injured after two trains collided.