48 Dead, 118 Injured As Train in Taiwan Derails With 350 Onboard

Several carriages were mangled and five of the eight rakes were stuck inside the Daqingshui tunnel.

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In this image made from a video released by hsnews.com.tw, passengers are being helped to climb out of the derailed train in Hualien County in eastern Taiwan on Friday, April 2, 2021. The train partially derailed along Taiwan’s east coast on Friday, injuring an unknown number of passengers and causing several fatalities.
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At least 48 people were killed on Friday, 2 April, after a train derailed in Taiwan's Hualien county, authorities said. They added that the track, on which the fatal accident occurred, will take seven days to repair.

At 9.28 am (local time), Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) No 408 Taroko train en route from Shulin, New Taipei, to Taitung, suddenly derailed as it entered the Daqingshui tunnel, reported Taiwan News.

The train comprised eight carriages and had more than 350 passengers on board.

According to the TRA, a construction vehicle reportedly rolled down a slope and hit the passing train, which triggered the derailment. Several carriages were mangled. And five of the rakes were stuck inside the Daqingshui Tunnel, it added.

By Friday afternoon, 16 trains and 6,398 travellers had been affected by the disaster. The administration added that most of the victims were found in the two last carriages.

‘It was Totally Dark, Had No Idea What to Do’

At least 118 people were reported to be injured. They were rushed to different hospitals in the region for treatment. Some received first aid at the nearby Chongde Railway Station.

The derailment occurred on the first day of a four-day break for Taiwan's annual tomb-sweeping tradition, DPA news agency reported.

The passengers said the accident was terrifying. “I didn’t dare look at the scene. There were many people lying there,” a passenger, who managed to escape, told the state-run Central News Agency. “It was totally dark. People had no idea what to do.”

Another passenger told Eastern Broadcasting Company that he and some other passengers worked together to break a window in order to escape.

Premier Su Tseng-chang, who visited the accident site, apologised to the passengers for the accident and sent his condolences to the victims' families. President Tsai Ing-wen has instructed the authorities to continue the rescue activities and to fully investigate what caused the accident.

The last major train accident in Taiwan was in October 2018, when 18 people died.

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