Published: Sat, April 03, 2021
Medical | By

Deadly train derailment in Taiwan

Deadly train derailment in Taiwan

The accident happened at the start of a long holiday weekend and the train was packed with tourists and people going home.

The last major train derailment in Taiwan was in 2018 and left 18 people dead at the southern end of the same line. "But I guess they lost consciousness afterward".

Passengers in some carriages still in the tunnel had to be led to safety, the railway administration said.

At least 36 people have died after a train derailed on Friday in eastern Taiwan, while 72 were injured.

Between 80 to 100 people were evacuated from the first four carriages of the train, while carriages five to eight have "deformed" and are hard to gain access to, the fire department said.

With much of the train still trapped in the tunnel, escaping passengers were forced to scale doors, windows and roofs to reach safety.

Under its push for infrastructure exports, Hitachi has delivered 260 rail cars, including those for express and bullet services, to Taiwan since 1960, including 64 tilting cars since 2006.

Images from the scene showed carriages in the tunnel ripped apart by the impact, with others crumpled, hindering rescuers in their efforts to reach passengers, although by mid-afternoon no one was still trapped.

An investigation has been launched into the crash, and there was no immediate word about any arrests. The lightly populated east is popular with tourists, many of whom travel there by train to avoid mountain roads.

"Emergency rescue mechanisms have been put in place for the sick and injured. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident".

Taiwanese railway officials will be required to conduct sweeps along other tracks in the system to "prevent this from happening again", Su Tseng-chang, the country's premier, said.

Television footage and photos posted by people at the scene on the website of the official Central News Agency showed people climbing out the open door of a railcar just outside the entrance to the tunnel. They were treating minor wounds and offering lunches.

Volunteer rescue workers from the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation said children were among the dozens who escaped the train cars.

Taiwan's last major rail crash was in October 2018, when an express train derailed while rounding a tight corner on the northeast coast, killing at least 18 people and injuring almost 200.

That crash was the island's worst since 1991, when 30 passengers were killed and 112 injured after two trains collided in Miaoli.

The 408 train is one of the fastest deployed on a network that is generally considered safe.

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