Taiwan prosecutors seek arrest in deadly train crash

St Lucia extends condolences to Taiwan after train crash

In the island's worst rail accident in seven decades, 50 people have been confirmed dead after a packed express train carrying nearly 500 passengers and crew slammed into a truck near the eastern city of Hualien on Friday, causing it to derail and the front part to crumple.

At least 51 people have been killed and more than 150 injured.

Yu Hsiu-duan, head of the Hualien prosecutors office, told reporters late on Friday an arrest warrant had been sought for a construction site manager suspected of having failed to engage the brake properly, and that was now was being handled by the court system.

According to reports, a packed express train collided with a truck and derailed in a tunnel in eastern Taiwan. The Taiwan Red Cross also released pictures of lifeguards wearing helmets and flashing lights on the roof of a wrecked train inside a tunnel to reach survivors.

Grieving relatives, some holding makeshift shrines and weeping openly, held prayers at the crash site on Saturday. She didn't offer details citing an ongoing investigation.

The driver of the eight-car train was charged with negligent homicide.

The Hualien district court allowed the truck owner to post bail of 500,000 new Taiwan dollars but he must stay in the county and avoid contact with any witnesses, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.

Rescuers said they were not sure whether further bodies might still be inside the wreckage.


"The court said there was no reason to keep him in custody", she told reporters.

The death toll is the highest for a train crash in Taiwan in 73 years.

"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.

However, a third could not be moved before the tracks are repaired while the other five cars were still wedged into the tunnel. Two large construction cranes could be seen drawn up next to the train on Saturday morning, as workers examined and removed some parts in a remote wooded cliff area on the island's east coast. "This is our preliminary conclusion and we are trying to clarify the circumstances of the accident", he added.

The National Fire Service said the dead included the train's young, newly married driver and the assistant driver.

The disaster command centre says three foreigners are among the dead: two American women and a Frenchman.

President Tsai Ing-wen visited hospitals in Hualien to speak to family members and survivors, thanking ordinary people and nongovernment groups for their efforts to help. The crash occurred on day one of the Sweeping Tomb festival, where families return to home towns to pay respects at the graves of their ancestors.

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