At least 48 people have been killed and more than 66 others sustained injured after a train they were travelling with derailed in a tunnel before hitting a truck in Taiwan on Friday morning.
In what has been termed as Taiwan’s worst rail accident in almost four decades, has left other 70 people trapped in the wreckage.
With almost 500 aboard, it came off the rails north of Hualien in eastern Taiwan. The train was heading to Taitung from Taipei and had tourists and people heading home at the start of a long weekend.
The official Central News Agency said a truck that was “not parked properly” was suspected of sliding into the path of the train. The fire department showed a picture of what appeared to be the truck’s wreckage lying next to the train.
“Our train crashed into a truck,” one man said in a video. Footage files of the crash scene show carriages inside the tunnel ripped apart from the impact while others crumpled, hindering rescuers reaching passengers.
Taiwan media has confirmed the train was so crowded and many people were standing.
The accident occurred at the start of a long weekend for the traditional Tomb Sweeping Day.
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 line connecting Taipei with Hualien was only opened in 1979 and in 2018, 18 people died and 175 were injured when a train derailed in northeastern Taiwan. In 1981, 30 were killed in a collision in northern Taiwan.