Taiwan train crash: At least 34 killed, 72 injured

More than 50 dead in Taiwan train crash

More than 50 dead in Taiwan train crash

Reports said a truck fell from a cliff above and landed on the tracks.

Taiwan News quoted officials as saying the crash had delayed or disrupted the schedules of 16 other trains, and that it would take at least a week for train travel to return to normal.

The official Central News Agency said a truck whose handbrake was not engaged was suspected of sliding off a sloping road into the path of the train, and that police had taken in the driver for questioning.

At the site, Transport Minister Lin Chia-lung told reporters that it had been carrying about 490 people, higher than an earlier figure of 350 provided by fire authorities.

The crash happened at around 9:30 a.m. on Friday, at the start of a long weekend. Many passengers were crushed, while some survivors were forced to climb out of windows and walk along the train's roof to safety.

"Our train crashed into a truck", one man said in a video aired on Taiwanese television, showing pictures of the wreckage.

Passengers in some carriages still in the tunnel had to be led to safety, the railway administration said. Images from the scene showed derailed train cars wedged against the walls of the tunnel; part of the wall of one auto had smashed into a seat.

At least 36 people feared dead after train derails in E Taiwan
Taiwanese local media reported that the train apparently collided with a construction vehicle, leading to the derailment. During the festival, people return to ancestral villages to tidy up the tombs of their relatives and make offerings.

The National Fire Service confirmed that 48 people were dead and more than 100 injured. No one was in the truck at the time. An investigation has been launched, and Hualien police have interviewed one person, Weng said.

Weng said the speed of the train at the time of impact was not known.

Taiwan's mountainous east coast is a popular tourist destination, and the railway line from Taipei down the east coast is renowned for its tunnels and route that hugs the coast just north of Hualien where the crash occurred.

The tragedy was heightened as Friday was the first day of the Tomb Sweeping Festival, an annual commemoration in Taiwan and some other parts of Asia of family members who have died. "We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident".

A collision between two trains resulted in 30 deaths and 112 injuries.

Taiwan's last major rail crash was in October 2018 when an express train derailed while rounding a tight corner on the northeast coast, killing at least 18 people and injuring approximately 175. Those were said to be the worst previous crashes on the rail system that dates from the late 19th century.

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