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At least 18 killed in Taiwan train derailment

On a line popular with tourists, at least 18 people have been killed and 175 injured in a derailment in Taiwan. 


Image Central News Agency


In the country’s worst rail accident in nearly four decades, all eight cars of the train ran off the tracks while four carriages overturned, authorities said. 


The cause of the tragedy is still unknown, but the incident occurred on a bend near a station in the country’s north eastern Yilan County. 


The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said all 366 of the people on board the train had been removed.  


“The train was going very fast. I thought to myself: Why was it not slowing down on a curve?” passenger Henry Tseng, who was onboard one of the overturned carriages, told Reuters.


“I hit a wall when the car started to flip. Around five to six people were thrown out of the carriage door...There’s no time to think what happened. Everyone was in a rush to get out.”


In live footage on Facebook, local villagers were seen carrying out injured passengers before emergency services arrived. Hundreds of rescuers then worked through the wreckage.


Image EPA


“We will use all our strength and efforts for the rescue,” President Tsai Ing-wen wrote on her Facebook page.


TRA deputy chief Lu Chieh-Shen told a news conference a probe into the accident was already underway and added that the train was in “pretty good condition”.


It has not been revealed yet whether international travellers were among those killed. 


According to the Central News Agency, the incident was the nation’s worst rail tragedy since 1981, when a collision in northern Taiwan killed 30 people.


Taiwan’s high speed rail line, whose trains travel up to 300kph, operates on the west coast of the island state.


The less developed east coast is known for its natural beauty, especially at Taroko National Park.  

Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 21 October 2018

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