A horrific train crash left 48 commuters confirmed dead and at least 60 more people injured in the contentious Asian nation of Taiwan. Reports are pouring in through Reuters that the express train was packed with “nearly 500 passengers” when it “derailed in a tunnel Friday.”
48 people dead
Reuters is reporting on Friday that an express commuter train traveling between the cities of Taipei and Taitung derailed inside a tunnel after “hitting a truck that had slid off the road from a nearby construction site.”
That seems to be a perfectly timed freak accident. Initial reports indicate “at least 48 people dead and more than 60 injured.”
So far, the only thing known about the truck which triggered the deadly incident is that the vehicle “was suspected to have slid off the road into the train’s path, and its handbrake had not been engaged.”
The engineer of the train is listed as one of the people killed.
In response to a train derailment in Hualien, Taiwan, our emergency services have been fully mobilized to rescue & assist the passengers & railway staff affected. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident.
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) April 2, 2021
The train, people on the scene report, “only partly emerged from a tunnel.” That meant “many passengers had to escape out of doors and windows and scale the side of the train to get to safety,” Associated Press has learned. They mention that there is already an investigation being launched to determine exactly what happened.
Fully mobilized to rescue
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen is still allowed to use Twitter to inform people, despite China’s disapproval, so she tapped out, “In response to a train derailment in Hualien, Taiwan, our emergency services have been fully mobilized to rescue & assist the passengers & railway staff affected. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident.”
This crash will mark the “most fatal” incident that President Tsai took office in 2016. The previous records, New York Times tallies, were a major incident which occurred in 2018, “killing 18 people and injuring 170 others after a train derailed in northeast Yilan County.”
That one gets the runner up slot, the Times notes because “the last crash with a similar number of fatalities occurred in 1981 when 31 people were killed.”