Taiwan: Train Derailed In Tunnel Kills 48 , Injures Dozens

The Taroko Express train derailed and crashed in a tunnel on the first day of a long holiday weekend.

A passenger train derailed in eastern Taiwan on Friday, killing at least 48 people and injuring nearly 160 others, the authorities said, in the island’s deadliest railway accident in decades.

The eight-car Taroko Express train had been traveling from the Taipei area to the eastern coastal city of Taitung when it went off the rails around 9:30 a.m. in a tunnel just north of the city of Hualien. Several carriages hit the walls of the tunnel.

Rescue workers were trying to reach around 70 passengers who were still trapped in the wreck inside the tunnel, according to the Hualien County government. Video footage posted online showed rescuers carrying injured passengers out on stretchers as other survivors emerged from the tunnel walking on the roof of the train, some rolling suitcases. Some passengers described smashing the windows of their carriage with their luggage to try to get out.

The Taroko Express train is one of the fastest to traverse Taiwan’s east coast and typically travels at around 80 miles per hour. It had been carrying around 350 passengers at the time of the crash, the official Central News Agency said.

Friday was the annual Tomb Sweeping Day holiday, a time when Taiwan sees a surge in travel. The crash occurred near Qingshui Cliff, a sightseeing destination popular among tourists who flock to see towering mountains and crystal-blue waters.

New York Times

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