Deadly train derailment in Taiwan

A general view shows a section of a train that derailed inside a tunnel in the mountains of Hualien eastern

Taiwan's transport ministry said two USA citizens were among the dead, while two Japanese, an Australian and a Chinese citizen were among the injured.

Rescue workers remove a part of the derailed train near Taroko Gorge in Hualien, Taiwan, April 3, 2021.

Two giant cranes were being used to move the carriages and rescuers said further bodies might still be found inside the most damaged cars inside the tunnel. Another U.S. citizen who was on the train was reported missing, according to a statement by Taiwan's Foreign Ministry.

A Taiwan express train carrying almost 500 people left the tracks as it passed through a tunnel (2) on Friday, killing at least 50 people.

The driver of the eight-car train was charged with negligent homicide. His girlfriend had been asleep with her head in her hands when the accident happened, and so she fell in that position and wasn't seriously injured despite several jolts as the train applied emergency brakes.

Authorities earlier said 51 people had died before revising the figure down to 50.

"Car number eight had the most serious injuries and number of deaths", rescue worker Chang Zi-chen told reporters on Saturday, referring to the most forward passenger auto.

The train, which was traveling from the capital Taipei to the island's southern city of Taitung, is believed to have derailed after colliding with a truck that left a construction site in the area and slipped on a slippery road. Minutes later, the train's lead vehicle crashed into it, according to Railways Administration official Weng Hui-ping, just before the train entered a tunnel. In the video, a man can be heard saying, "Our train hit the truck. It's lucky that I was at the later carriage - I was at the fourth carriage".

Rescue workers walk at the site where a train derailed inside a tunnel in the mountains of Hualien eastern
Rescue workers walk at the site where a train derailed inside a tunnel in the mountains of Hualien eastern

Images of the crash scene showed carriages inside the tunnel ripped apart from the impact, while others crumpled, hindering rescuers from reaching passengers, though as of mid-afternoon only two people remained trapped in the wreckage. Photos show the rescue operation underway, with passengers walking on top of the train to leave the tunnel and being helped down. At least 198 people were injured.

Officials in Hualien county said rescue efforts were continuing late on Friday.

"This is our initial understanding and we are clarifying the cause of the incident".

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which acts as the de facto United States embassy, also sent its deepest condolences to the victims, families, and communities impacted by the tragic derailment.

She had told him that many passengers were crying and screaming, and some passengers' legs had been crushed by luggage.

The accident came on the first day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Festival, an annual religious festival when people travel to their hometowns for family gatherings and to worship at the graves of their ancestors. The woman, who was not identified, explained that "many people were stuck under the seats".

Taiwan is a mountainous island, and most of its 24 million people live in the flatlands along the northern and western coasts that are home to most of the island's farmland, biggest cities and high-tech industries.



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