Dozens killed in Taiwan train-crash
At least 48 people have been killed and dozens more injured after a
train carrying nearly 500 crashed and then derailed in a tunnel in Taiwan.
The eight-carriage train reportedly hit a construction vehicle that had
slipped onto the tracks at the tunnel’s mouth.
Rescuers combed badly damaged carriages inside the tunnel to find
survivors, some of whom smashed windows to flee.
The train, from the capital Taipei to Taitung, was carrying people
travelling for a long-weekend annual holiday.
Many people may have been standing because the train was so full.
The 408 train is one of the fastest deployed on a network that is
generally considered safe. It can reach speeds of 130km/h (80mph).
Friday’s crash is Taiwan’s worst rail disaster in decades. President
Tsai Ing-wen has sent her condolences to the families of the victims
and ordered an investigation. The latest reports from the National Fire
Agency say 490 people were on the train, with 48 dead and some 66 injured.
‘Sudden violent jolt’ – Dozens killed in Taiwan train-crash
The crash took place at about 09:00 local time (01:00 GMT). Some people
at the back of the train were able to walk away unscathed, while 100
were rescued from the first four carriages. Many of the dead, injured
and trapped were in four crumpled carriages inside the tunnel.
“It felt like there was a sudden violent jolt and I found myself falling
to the floor,” one female survivor told Taiwan’s UDN. “We broke the
window to climb to the roof of the train to get out.”
Another rescued woman said: “My whole body fell to the floor.
I hit my head and it started bleeding.”
Local media reports say the train driver is among the dead.
Images show a large, yellow flatbed truck lying at the side of the tracks.
A construction project has been under way near the north end of the tunnel.
It is not known how the vehicle slipped down the embankment.
Survivors on stretchers
Other pictures showed people walking along the tracks with their
belongings as they were evacuated from less badly affected carriages.
Other survivors were being carried away on stretchers with their necks in braces.
Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang visited the crash site on Friday afternoon.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Twitter: “I offer my sincere
condolences to all those affected by this morning’s rail accident in Taiwan.”
the Tomb Sweeping festival – a time when people pay their respects to the
dead by visiting the graves of friends and family, sprucing them up and
making offerings to their spirits.
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.