The eight-car train to Taitung broke off the rails in a tunnel north of Hualien Friday morning, causing several cars to hit the wall of the tunnel, the government-run Central News Agency reported, citing the fire department .
Around 60 people were safely evacuated from the first three cars, the agency reported.
According to the CNA, a truck that was “improperly parked” was suspected of slipping into the train path. The fire department showed a picture of the wreckage of the truck, which lay next to part of the derailed train.
“Are you all in car four?” In videos of the fire brigade, a woman can be heard screaming from the tunnel.
Images of the crash scene show cars in the tunnel crumbling and torn from the impact, passengers collecting suitcases and bags in a tipped, derailed car, and others walking across the debris-strewn tracks.
“In response to a train derailment in Hualien, Taiwan, our emergency services were fully mobilized to rescue and support the affected passengers and railway workers,” Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said on Twitter. “We will continue to do everything we can to ensure your safety after this heartbreaking incident.”
The accident occurred at the beginning of a long weekend for the traditional Tomb Sweeping Day Hospital.
Taiwan’s mountainous east coast is a popular tourist destination, Known for its picturesque Taroko National Park, not far from where the crash took place.
In 2018, 18 people died and 175 were injured when a train derailed in northeastern Taiwan, the island’s worst rail disaster in more than three decades.
This is a groundbreaking story. Updates will follow.