Taiwan train derailment

Dozens feared dead as packed Taiwan train derails inside tunnel

Taiwan train derailment
Taiwan train derailment AFP

At least 34 people are feared dead after the derailment of a train inside a tunnel in Taiwan.

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There were 350 passengers aboard the train and while at least 60 have been taken to hospital, a further 70 people are still trapped in carriages inside the tunnel.

The train was heading to the city of Taitung, after setting off from the capital Taipei.

Many of those onboard were said to be tourists, some celebrating the annual Tomb-sweeping festival.

It’s thought the train derailed at around 09:00 local time. Taiwanese police told local media the cause of the accident might have been a maintenance vehicle that slid down an embankment onto the train’s path, just before the train entered the tunnel.

Local media say the train driver is among the dead.

Pictures online show people in unaffected carriages walking along the train tracks to safety.

Worst rail disaster in decades

"It felt like there was a sudden violent jolt and I found myself falling to the floor," an unidentified female survivor told Taiwan's UDN.

"We broke the window to climb to the roof of the train to get out."

A statement issued by Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said "rescuing those trapped is our highest priority now."

Friday's crash is likely to be the island's worst rail disaster in decades.

The last major train derailment in Taiwan was in 2018, which left 18 people dead.

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