Taiwan records deadliest train crash in 4 decades

Taiwan train crash
Taiwan train crash
Rescue effort on a Taiwan train that crashed Friday
Rescue effort on a Taiwan train that crashed Friday

Agency Report

At least 41 people were killed and more than 60 injured in Taiwan’s deadliest train crash on Friday, its worst in four decades.

The train carrying almost 500 passengers derailed in a tunnel, after apparently hitting a truck that slid off a road leading to a nearby construction site.

The crash, which also killed the train’s driver, is the island’s worst rail disaster in at least four decades.

The train, an express travelling from Taipei to Taitung, came off the rails north of Hualien in eastern Taiwan.

It was carrying many tourists and people heading home at the start of a long weekend traditional holiday to tend to family tombs.

Images of the crash scene showed carriages inside the tunnel ripped apart from the impact, while others crumpled, hindering rescuers reaching passengers, though as of mid-afternoon only two people remained trapped in the wreckage.

Transport Minister Lin Chia-lung told reporters on the scene that the train was carrying about 490 people – higher than an earlier fire department figure of 350.

Taiwan media said many people were standing as the train was so full, and were thrown about when it crashed, and showed pictures of survivors being led out the tunnel.

“People just fell all over each other, on top of one another,” one female survivor told local television. “It was terrifying. There were whole families there.”

The official Central News Agency said a truck whose handbrake was not engaged was suspected of sliding off a sloping road into the path of the train, and that police had taken in the driver for questioning.

The fire department showed a picture of what appeared to be the truck’s wreckage lying next to the derailed train, and an aerial image of the end of the train sitting on the track next to a construction site.

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