At least 36 killed after train derails in Taiwan

At least 36 killed after train derails in Taiwan

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

The fire department showed a picture of what appeared to be the truck's wreckage lying next to the derailed train, and an aerial image of the end of the train sitting on the track next to a construction site.

President Tsai Ing-wen said she had ordered hospitals to prepare for a mass casualty event.

Some media outlets reported 350 passengers were on board at the time.

Taiwan's extensive rail system has undergone substantial upgrades in recent years, particularly with the addition of a high-speed line connecting the capital Taipei with west coast cities to the south.

Due to a long history of deadly earthquakes, Taiwan has experienced rescue teams on permanent standby to deal with disasters and retrieve trapped people.

Images of the crash scene show train carriages ripped apart and crumpled against the sides of the tunnel, preventing rescuers from reaching passengers.

People further back in the train were able to walk away from the crash comparatively unscathed.

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

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The eight-car train was travelling from Taipei to the southeastern city of Taitung.

The accident occurred at the start of a long weekend for the traditional Tomb Sweeping Day.

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

The lightly populated east is popular with tourists, many of whom arrive along the coastal railway lines to avoid treacherous mountain roads.

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

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.

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

The train involved in Friday's accident, the Toroko No 408 is one of Taiwan's newer models and requires tickets to be reserved in advance with no standing allowed. Authorities say at least 41 people have lost their lives and more than 60 are injured.

Rescue crews in Taiwan responded Friday to a train derailment on its scenic east coast that killed at least 34 and prompted dozens of passengers to crawl out of windows to safety. The train smashed into the truck while it emerged.

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