A look back at Taiwan's worst train accidents

Images from the scene show some carriages ripped apart by the impact with others crumpled hindering rescuers in their efforts to reach passengers

In 2018, 18 people died and 175 were injured when a train derailed in the island's northeast.

Media showed pictures of survivors being led out of the tunnel.

A Taiwan express train with nearly 500 aboard derailed in a tunnel on Friday after hitting a truck that had slid down a bank onto the track, killing at least 50 passengers and injuring 146 in the island's worst rail disaster in seven decades.

Reports said a truck fell from a cliff above and landed on the tracks, where a train emerging from a tunnel smashed into it.

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.

Another live broadcast by local news network UDN showed at least two undamaged train carriages outside the tunnel with rescuers helping passengers escape.

More than 72 people were injured, with around 60 already sent to a hospital.

Officials believe the train was carrying more than 400 people. And there were other people on top of the seats.

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Rescue crews in Taiwan responded Friday to a train derailment on its scenic east coast that killed at least 34 and prompted dozens of passengers to crawl out of windows to safety. One French citizen was amongst the dead, officials said.

In 1948, 64 people are estimated to have died when a train burst into flames in northern Taiwan.

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.

"We see people coming off the train and they look shaken and nervous", said Chen Tzu-chong, a Tzu Chi team leader on site.

President Tsai Ing-wen said she had ordered hospitals to prepare for a mass casualty event.

"We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident". He said the crash was the worst-ever in Taiwan.

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".

Taiwan's extensive rail system has undergone substantial upgrades in recent years, particularly with the addition of a high-speed line connecting the capital Taipei with west coast cities to the south.

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