The eight-car train, traveling to Titung, got off the rail in a tunnel just north of Huilion on Friday morning, causing several vehicles to hit the tunnel wall, the government-run Central News Agency (CNA) cited the fire department Told. .
The train driver is among the dead, the fire department told the country’s executive office, and at least 66 survivors are being treated at several hospitals in nearby Hullien County.
Some of the dead are still awaiting identification, the government said on Friday, but officials believe that all those stranded have been evacuated due to the heavy damage to the train.
According to the CNA, a vehicle that slipped off a slope near the tunnel and collided with a moving train could derail.
A video on social media showed parts of an industrial vehicle’s heavy equipment, as well as a car door next to a derailed train. In the video, a man can be heard saying, “Our train hit the truck. Where is this place? Kingshui Tunnel. An accident occurred in the Qingshui Tunnel. The train collided with the truck, the truck fell. It’s lucky That I was after – I was in the fourth car. “
“The car is all out at four?” In the video provided by the Fire Department, a woman is heard shouting from inside the tunnel.
Images of the crash scene appear to fall inside the tunnel and break away from the impact, with passengers bending over, collecting derailed suitcases and bags, and others walking on the tracks lined with debris. The photos show rescue operations, with passengers moving from the top of the train to help them drop the tunnel and down.
A local government official said during a news conference that at least 156 people were injured in the accident. The official said that the rescue team believed that no one was left on the train, but rescue efforts would continue and officials were investigating to see if anyone was still unaccounted for.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said on Twitter, “After the derailment of the train in Hulien, Taiwan, our emergency services are fully mobilized to protect and assist passengers and railway workers.” “We will continue to do everything to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking event.”
The accident was celebrated as a long weekend, with Tom Sweeping Day closed for a public holiday. A couple who were on the train told CNA that they were en route to Taitung to break the graves and pay their respects to the deceased family members, as is customary for the event. The train was so full that many people were standing.
The accident site is located just east of the picturesque Taroco National Park, a popular tourist destination on the country’s hilly east coast.
In 2018, 18 people were killed and 175 were injured when a train derailed in northeast Taiwan in the island’s worst rail accident in more than three decades.
Additional reporting by Reuters.