A passenger train carrying nearly 500 people derailed inside a tunnel in Taiwan on Friday, killing at least 51 people and injuring dozens more, numerous sources reported.
The crash is the island’s worst rail disaster in nearly four decades and happened north of Hualien, located in eastern Taiwan, according to Reuters.
A Taiwan express train with almost 500 aboard derailed in a tunnel, killing dozens and injuring many in the island’s worst rail disaster in almost four decades https://t.co/FEe74TQcAb pic.twitter.com/HMLPc2eZSo
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 2, 2021
Rescue operations are underway after a train derailed in #Taiwan. At least 34 people are feared dead. Dozens have been transferred to hospital.https://t.co/Hy5b40f38W pic.twitter.com/j4PUpAxKGM
— RFI English (@RFI_En) April 2, 2021
The eight car train was traveling to Taitung when it came off the rails in a tunnel, causing several train cars to hit the wall of the tunnel, Central News Agency (CNA), which is state-run, reported, according to CNN. Reuters reported that the train was derailed after hitting a truck that had slid off the road from a nearby construction site.
Many people were standing on the crowded train, and the crash caused many to be propelled from their positions, state media said, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Two Trains Collide In Egypt, Flipping Cars And Killing At Least 32)
VIDEO: Rescuers on scene at deadly Taiwan train derailment.
Taiwan rescuers are scrambling to reach passengers trapped inside a train derailed inside a tunnel, as dozens of people are feared dead in the crash pic.twitter.com/w0uxd8SOxY
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) April 2, 2021
“People just fell all over each other, on top of one another,” a woman who survived the crash said on television, according to Reuters. “It was terrifying. There were whole families there.”
Among the dead are the train driver, but some victims are still awaiting identification, Taiwan’s government said, according to CNN. At least 66 people are reportedly being treated at several local hospitals.
Authorities believe everyone who was trapped inside the train has been rescued, but rescue efforts would continue to make sure everyone was accounted for, CNN reported.
Images of the crash scene show train cars ripped apart and passengers fleeing the tiled cars with their luggage, while others walked along the tracks which were covered in wreckage, according to CNN.
“In response to a train derailment in Hualien, Taiwan, our emergency services have been fully mobilized to rescue & assist the passengers & railway staff affected,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Twitter.
In response to a train derailment in Hualien, Taiwan, our emergency services have been fully mobilized to rescue & assist the passengers & railway staff affected. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident.
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) April 2, 2021
“We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident.”
The train was carrying many people heading home for a traditional holiday to tend to family graves, according to Reuters.
Although Taiwan’s state-operated railways are generally efficient, there have been fatal incidents in the past three decades.
In 2018, 18 people died and 175 were injured after a train derailed in Taiwan’s northeast region, Taiwan’s worst rail disaster in nearly three decades, according to Reuters. In 1991, 30 were killed in a train crash, and a decade earlier, another 30 people were killed in a train collision.