The eight-car train, which was on its way to Taitung, derailed in a tunnel just north of Hualien on Friday morning, causing several cars to crash against the tunnel wall, the government Central News Agency reported, citing firefighters. .
About 60 people were safely evacuated from the first three cars, the agency reported.
a “badly parked” truck was suspected of having slipped in the path of the train. The fire department showed a photo of what appeared to be the wreckage of the truck lying next to part of the derailed train.
“Is everyone in car four?” a woman is heard screaming from inside the tunnel, in videos provided by firefighters.
Footage from the crash scene shows cars inside the tunnel crumbled and torn from the impact, passengers gathering suitcases and bags in a tilted and derailed railcar, and others walking along littered tracks of wrecks.
“In response to a train derailment in Hualien, Taiwan, our emergency services were fully mobilized to rescue and assist affected passengers and rail personnel,” Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said on Twitter. “We will continue to do all we can to ensure their safety following this heartbreaking incident.”
The accident happened at the start of a long weekend for the traditional day of grave sweeping.
Taiwan’s mountainous east coast is a popular tourist destination, known for its scenic Taroko National Park, not far from where the accident took place.
In 2018, 18 people died and 175 were injured when a train derailed in northeast Taiwan, in the island’s worst rail disaster in more than three decades.