Taiwan train crash leaves 36 dead, several injured

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Officials say the train crashed into an unattended truck that had rolled down a hill onto the tracks.

An eight-car passenger train carrying 490 people has derailed in a tunnel just north of Hualien, in eastern Taiwan, killing more than 50 and injuring scores more, according to local authorities. "It was terrifying. There were whole families there".

In Taiwan, train cars are being removed from the site of Friday's deadly train accident, and President Tsai Ing-wen has visited a hospital to meet people who were injured in the wreck. The train was carrying around 350 people, and rescue efforts are ongoing, the fire department said.

Dozens more have been injured, with rescuers trying to access several badly damaged carriages.

The train was travelling from Taipei, the capital, to the southeastern city of Taitung.

An investigation has been launched, and Hualien police have interviewed one person, Weng said.

Images showed an injured passenger carried away on a stretcher, with her head and neck in a brace, while others gathered suitcases and bags in a tilted, derailed carriage as some walked on the roof of the train to leave the tunnel.

Thirty were also killed in 1981 after a truck collided with a passenger train at a level crossing and sent coaches over a bridge in Hsinchu.

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"It suddenly came to a stop and then everything shook", one told local television.

Other pictures online showed people walking along the tracks with their belongings as they were evacuated from less badly affected carriages.

Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang said the Railways Administration would be required to immediately conduct checks along other track lines to "prevent this from happening again".

Numerous passengers would have been traveling for the first day of the four-day Qingming, or Tomb Sweeping Festival - an annual pilgrimage to the gravesites of ancestors.

Taiwan's mountainous east coast is popular with tourists. The railway that snakes down from Taipei hugs the coast and is known for its tunnels, in one of which the crash took place.

"Many people were crushed under train seats in the collision".

In 1948, 64 people were estimated to have died when a train caught fire in northern Taiwan. With much of the train still trapped in the tunnel, escaping passengers were forced to scale doors, windows and roofs to reach safety.

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