Dozens of fatalities are feared after a train accident in Taiwan. According to the authorities, 36 people were rescued after the accident on Friday in the Hualian district, in whom no signs of life could initially be determined. Confirmed death numbers were initially not available. So far, a total of 61 people have been taken to hospitals. More than 70 people are still trapped in the rubble of the train.
The rescue work continued on Friday morning. Photos and videos in Taiwanese media showed part of the train that appeared to be crushed by the tunnel wall. Several derailed cars lined up in front of the tunnel.
According to the central emergency response center, the rescue workers tried to get to four wagons in the tunnel, which are damaged and difficult to access. Survivors climb out of the windows and onto the roof of the wagons to get to safety.
According to the fire brigade, the express train with eight cars and more than 350 passengers on board derailed while passing through a tunnel. Shortly before that, a construction site vehicle fell down a slope and hit the train. Taiwan’s state news agency CNA quoted an eyewitness who reported that the vehicle was apparently not parked properly. On television, a survivor says that the train collided with a falling truck: “The truck fell from above.”
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen put the hospitals on alert. It is now the highest priority to free the people from the train wreck, she said.
The accident occurred in a mountain region in eastern Taiwan near the city of Hualien. The last time there was a serious train accident in Taiwan was in October 2018. At that time 18 people died.