During the morning of Friday, a high-speed train with almost 500 passengers on board derailed at the entrance of a tunnel when it collided with a truck, killing at least 48 people and injuring hundreds more. It is the deadliest rail accident to hit Taiwan in decades.

Walking on the roof of the wrecked train to get to safety. Dozens of passengers on the 408 Taroko Express were able to escape the accident unscathed and awaited the help of rescue teams after the high-speed train partially derailed in a tunnel in Taiwan, leaving at least 48 dead, several trapped in the wreckage of the vehicle. and more than 60 injured, according to the National Fire Service.

“We broke the window to get on the roof of the train and get out,” explained one survivor, adding that she felt “as if there had been a sudden violent jolt, I found myself falling to the ground.” Like her, dozens of people walked on a line of wagons with the help of rescuers.

Almost 500 people were traveling on the train and not 350 as originally announced

The accident occurred during the morning of this Friday, April 2, when the train – in which almost 500 people were traveling – derailed shortly after entering a tunnel, supposedly after colliding with the trailer of a maintenance car that the train it would have impacted before entering the tunnel, causing the upper wagons to exit the tracks.

“The construction vehicle trailer went off the road and crashed into the train. Now the whole head of the train is damaged ”, according to a rescue worker, the images of the accident show the mass of iron in which several wagons were transformed after the impact and the rescuers rushing to remove the trapped.

“A lot of people were crushed under the train seats from the collision and there were other people on top of the seats. So those below were pressed and crushed and lost consciousness. At first, they still responded when we called them. But I guess later. they lost consciousness, ”an injured passenger told local media.

It is the deadliest railway accident on the island

It is the deadliest accident in the country. Many of the passengers were standing due to the high capacity, adding to their impact. Rescue authorities have already said the death toll could rise as their work progresses. Among the deceased identified so far is the train driver and there are more than 60 injured of varying severity who were immediately transferred to the nearest hospitals. A figure that could increase.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said on Twitter that emergency services “have been fully mobilized to rescue and assist the affected passengers and railway personnel. We will continue to do everything possible to ensure their safety following this heartbreaking incident.” .

The high-speed train was traveling from Taipei to Taitung when it came off the rails in the north of the eastern town of Hualien, a popular tourist area for its panoramic views of the coastal gorge. Most passengers on board were heading home ahead of the long four-day holiday weekend for Grave Cleaning Day, a religious holiday that brings families together to pay their respects to their ancestors.

The island of Taiwan, with a strong and modern rail system that connects the entire country, has already suffered other deadly rail accidents in recent years. In 2018, a train derailed on a hamstring, killing 18 crew members and injuring 200 more. And in 1991, a collision in the west killed 30 people.

With Reuters, AFP and AP

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