(Bloomberg) — A passenger train derailed on the east coast of Taiwan this morning, with at least three dozen people feared killed and more than two dozen others injured, the National Fire Agency said.
The Taroko Express, which has eight coaches and can carry about 350 passengers, derailed in a tunnel in Hualien County at about 9:35 a.m., the agency said in a text message. The train was heading south along the east coast to Taitung. Four coaches of the train were mangled after hitting the wall.
Friday is the first day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping holiday, when many in Taiwan travel to be with family. President Tsai Ing-wen ordered relevant departments to offer their best rescue efforts, and instructed the transportation ministry as well as Taiwan Railway to deal with impacted traffic arrangements, Presidential Office spokesman Chang Tun-han said in text message.
Of the 100 passengers in the first four coaches that were evacuated, 36 showed no signs of life, while 61 were seriously or slightly injured and sent to the hospital for treatment. Rescue efforts are still underway for the last four coaches, with 72 still stuck, the agency said.
Taiwan last saw a major train derailment in October 2018, when the Puyuma Express came off the rails in eastern Yilan country, killing 18 and injuring almost 200.