At least 50 people have been killed and dozens more injured in Taiwan after a train carrying nearly 500 passengers crashed and derailed while traveling through a tunnel.
“The eight-carriage train reportedly hit a construction vehicle that had slipped onto the tracks at the tunnel’s mouth,” according to the BBC, which reported that passengers who were able had to crawl through windows to reach safety.
Fox News added that “The rail disaster — which officials are calling the deadliest of its kind in Taiwan’s history — happened after a train carrying more than 400 people collided with an unmanned vehicle that had rolled down a hill. The train had only partially emerged from a tunnel at the time of the incident and more than 100 people have been confirmed injured, the National Fire Service added.”
“Many people were crushed under train seats in the collision. And there were other people on top of the seats. So those at the bottom were pressed and crushed and lost consciousness,” one passenger told Taiwanese broadcaster EBC. “At the beginning, they still responded when we called them. But I guess they lost consciousness afterward.”
The crash — which took place at approximately 09:00 local time — occurred near the Taroko Gorge, one of Taiwan’s nine national parks, “on the first day of a long holiday weekend when many people were using Taiwan’s extensive rail system.” The 408 train was traveling from capital Taipei to Taitung, and is “one of the fastest deployed on a network that is generally considered safe,” reaching speeds of 80 miles per hour.
Fox News added that “The National Fire Service confirmed the death toll, which included the train’s young, newly married driver, and said all aboard had now been accounted for. Railways news officer Weng Hui-ping called the crash Taiwan’s deadliest rail disaster.”
One survivor told Taiwain’s UDN, “It felt like there was a sudden violent jolt and I found myself falling to the floor,” adding,“We broke the window to climb to the roof of the train to get out.”
One rescued passenger said: “My whole body fell to the floor. I hit my head and it started bleeding.”
“Some of the dead are still awaiting identification, the government added Friday, but authorities believe that everyone trapped within the train’s heavily damaged carriages have been removed. Officials said a French citizen was killed in the crash, while two Japanese citizens and a citizen of Macau were among those injured,” reported CNN.
“A video on social media showed parts of an industrial vehicle heavy equipment, along with what looks like a car door beside the derailed train. In the video, a man can be heard saying, ‘Our train hit the truck. Where is this place? Qingshui Tunnel, the accident happened at Qingshui Tunnel. The train hit the truck, the truck fell off. It’s lucky that I was at the later carriage — I was at the fourth carriage,’” CNN noted.
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