| 13 April 2024, Saturday |

Taiwan train crash kills 41 in deadliest rail tragedy in decades

At least 41 people were killed and more than 60 wounded after a Taiwanese train carrying almost 500 passengers derailed in a tunnel on Friday when it apparently hit 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 carrying numerous tourists and people heading home at the start of a long weekend, derailed north of Hualien in eastern Taiwan, the fire department reported.

Images of the crash scene show carriages inside the tunnel ripped apart from the impact, while others crumpled, impeding the efforts of rescuers trying to reach passengers.

Transport Minister Lin Chia-lung told reporters on the scene that the train was carrying nearly 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 accident occurred at the start of a long weekend for the traditional Tomb Sweeping Day.

In 2018, 18 people perished and 175 were wounded when a train derailed in northeastern Taiwan. In 1981, 30 were killed in a collision in northern Taiwan.

  • Reuters