Taiwan: 34 people killed and dozens injured as passenger train collides with a truck

Published on : Friday, April 2, 2021

At least 34 people, injuring dozens and leaving dozens trapped as a passenger train smashed into a truck on its tracks and partially derailed just outside a rail tunnel along Taiwan’s east coast on Friday.  The survivors were climbing out of windows and onto train car roofs to reach safety.

The officials in Hualien County in Taiwan said rescue efforts were continuing. It was Taiwan’s deadliest train crash in decades.

It occurred near the Toroko Gorge scenic area around 9 a.m. on a public holiday. There were 350 passengers on board, authorities said. Local media said many were standing because the train was so full and were tossed all around by the crash.

The train was an express heading from Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, to Taitung, a city on the island nation’s southeast coast, the Reuters news agency reported. It was packed with tourists and people heading home at the start of the long holiday weekend.

The reports said a truck fell from a cliff above and landed on the tracks, where a train emerging from a tunnel smashed into it. With much of the train still trapped in the tunnel, escaping passengers were forced to scale doors, windows and roofs to reach safety.

The truck apparently hit after the locomotive had emerged, causing the greatest damage to cars 1-5, according to Hualien County’s rescue department.

Agence France-Presse says Hualien County Police Chief Tsai Ding-hsien told that the truck was a construction vehicle that didn’t park properly and slid onto the rail track. This is the initial understanding and the are clarifying the cause of the incident.

Local media images from the scene showed the back of a yellow flatbed truck sitting on its side next to the train, AFP added.

The television footage and photos posted by people at the scene on the website of the official Central News Agency showed people climbing out the open door of a railcar just outside the entrance to the tunnel. The inside of one car was pushed all the way into the adjacent seat. The accident came on the first day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Festival.

@ Associated Press

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