At least 17 dead and 101 injured as train overturns in Taiwan

Several carriages flipped during the accident in Yilan County

At least 22 people have been killed and over 170 others have been injured after one of Taiwan's newer, faster trains derailed on a curve along a popular weekend route, just south of the city of Luodong.

Fearing people may be trapped beneath the vehicle, firefighters with lights on their hard hats peered underneath as a crane prepared to upend it.

The Puyuma express train was carrying more than 360 passengers to Taitung city when it derailed at 4.50pm local time in the rural township of Tungshan, the transportation ministry's railway administration said.

Hong Kong's broadcaster RTHK reported another passenger saying the train had been preparing to accelerate before overturning and had been shaking intensely, adding that some passengers were asleep at the time of the accident.

Taiwan's central government said that rescue services were at the scene and that the premier had been notified; he was said to be "highly concerned" about the safety of the travelers. "They were crushed, so they died right away", Chen said.

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Most of the deaths were in the first vehicle, which flipped over, a government spokesman said.

Local television reports said passengers were trying to escape through train windows and that bystanders had gathered to help them before rescuers arrived.

The Puyuma class train is a tilt train that has been operating in Taiwan for six years, and travels at a maximum speed of 130 kilometers per hour.

All of the train's eight carriages had derailed and five had flipped onto their side near Xinma station, the railways administration said.

"The exact cause of the accident is pending investigation", he added.

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