A train derailed along a touristy coastal railway in north-eastern Taiwan on Sunday (Oct 21), killing at least 18 and injuring some 170 others in the island’s deadliest rail accident in 27 years, Taiwanese authorities and media said.
The train, Puyuma Express 6432 with 366 passengers on board, went off the tracks between the Dongshan and Suxin stations in Yilan county, near Taipei, at 4.50pm, Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said.
As of 10.30pm at least 18 people were dead while 168 others were injured, of whom 10 were in serious condition.
At least one of those hurt was a foreigner, a 43-year-old American woman who was hospitalised with minor injuries, according to United Daily News.
The authorities were checking whether other foreigners were aboard the train, which was travelling from Taipei’s Shulin station to the eastern coastal county of Taitung, TRA said.
An estimated 30 to 40 passengers were initially reported to be trapped in the wreckage. By 9.30pm all 366 passengers, dead or alive, had been removed or accounted for, TRA said.
President Tsai Ing-wen described the accident as a “major tragedy” in a tweet Sunday evening. “We will use all our strength and efforts for the rescue,” she wrote on her Facebook page.
Hundreds of medics, firefighters and troops had rushed to the scene to take the injured, including the train driver, to hospitals and rescue those still in the carriages.
Photographs posted on social media showed all eight of the train’s carriages lying helter-skelter near the tracks at the accident site. Five had been flipped to their sides.
Purported photographs of the wreckage show bent stretches of the track piercing through the train’s windows.