Dozens feared dead in Taiwan railway crash

A train in Taiwan was derailed on Friday morning killing at least four people

At least 36 people were feared dead with many others injured after a passenger train carrying around 350 people derailed in Hualien County in eastern Taiwan on Friday, according to local media.

With much of the train still trapped in the tunnel, escaping passengers were forced to scale doors, windows and roofs to reach safety.

Another rescued woman said: "My whole body fell to the floor".

Tsai Ing-wen, the President of Taiwan, called it a "heartbreaking incident" in a tweet this morning.

The line connecting Taipei with Hualien was only opened in 1979.

The train came off the rails causing several carriages to hit the walls of the tunnel, the government-run Central News Agency reported.

A female passenger said, "The train was traveling at a normal speed, but it suddenly hit the brakes".

Many people who were standing for the journey were thrown about when it crashed.

Pictures from the scene showed the back of a yellow flatbed truck on its side next to the train. "I felt like we were pushed from behind". Survivors were climbing out windows and on to roofs to reach safety.

The train is an express travelling from Taipei to Taitung carrying many tourists and people heading home at the start of a long weekend.

The accident occurred at the start of the busy annual Tomb Sweeping festival, a long holiday weekend when Taiwan's roads and railways are usually packed.

During the festival, people return to ancestral villages to tidy up the tombs of their relatives and make offerings.

Taiwan's eastern railway line is usually a popular tourist draw down its dramatic and less populated eastern coastline.

Railway police said 34 passengers had died.

With the help of multiple tunnels and bridges, it winds its way through towering mountains and dramatic gorges before entering the picturesque Huadong Valley.

Friday's crash looks set to be one of Taiwan's worst railway accidents on record.

Meanwhile, local media reports said that the train driver has been missing.

Taiwan's last major rail crash was in 2018 when an express train derailed while negotiating a tight corner on the northeast coast, killing at least 18 people and injuring almost 200.

In 1991, two trains collided in Miaoli County, western Taiwan, resulting in 30 fatalities and injuring more than 100. The train smashed into the truck while it emerged.



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