Truck Knocks Train off Tracks in Taiwan, Killing at Least 48

Taiwan’s worst train crash in decades leaves 48 dead, dozens injured

"It was terrifying. There were whole families there".

The train had only partially emerged from a tunnel, and with much of it still inside, many escaping passengers were forced to scramble out of doors and windows and scale the sides of the train to walk along the roof to safety. Minutes later, the train's lead vehicle crashed into it, according to Railways Administration official Weng Hui-ping, just before the train entered a tunnel.

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.

The accident has raised concerns about Taiwan's transportation safety, following another deadly train crash three years earlier.

Passengers climbed onto the roof of the derailed trail.

Five of the train's eight cars lodged inside the tunnel, according to Taiwan News.

The crash occurred near the Taroko Gorge scenic area on the first day of a long holiday weekend when many people were using Taiwan's extensive rail system.

"We see people coming off the train and they look shaken and nervous", Chen Tzu-chong, a Tzu Chi team leader on site, told The Associated Press. More than 200 of the 366 people on board were also injured.

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Signs outside indicated a handful of businesses were located there, including an insurance agent and a counselling service. Our hearts are with the families impacted by this bad tragedy tonight", California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a tweet .

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 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.

"Compared to the Taipei Metro and the Taiwan High Speed Rail in Taiwan, the Taiwan Railways Administration has a relatively high frequency of accidents", Wei said.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said, "I instructed fire departments, police and other organizations to engage in the rescue operation".

The New York Times, citing Taiwan's railway police, reported that about 72 people were injured. "We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident".

In 2018, 18 people were killed and 215 injured when a train derailed in northeastern Taiwan.

Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang expressed his condolences to the passengers and their families, according to the official Radio Taiwan International.

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