Friday, 16 November, 2018

Taiwan train crash leaves more than a dozen dead

The train was travelling from Taipei's Shulin station to northeastern Taiwan when it left the tracks The train was travelling from Taipei's Shulin station to northeastern Taiwan when it left the tracks
Ellis Copeland | 21 October, 2018, 19:42

Firefighters with lights on their hard hats, fearing people may be trapped beneath the vehicle, were looking underneath as a crane prepared to move it.

In television reports, passengers said the train, which was en route from Shulin to Taitung in eastern Taiwan, was travelling much faster than usual as it went through three curves leading to Hsinma station, where it was not scheduled to stop.

Most of the deaths were in the first auto, which flipped over, a government spokesman said.

Hong Kong's broadcaster RTHK reported another passenger saying the train had been preparing to accelerate before overturning and had been shaking intensely, adding that some passengers were asleep at the time of the accident.

Most of the victims died on the train while others succumbed to their injuries in hospital, he said. Five of the cars were on their sides.

Images from the site showed the Puyuma Express train completely derailed and lying zig-zagged across the track in northeastern Yilan county.

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Most of the deaths were in the first auto, which flipped over, a government spokesman said.

The defence ministry said it had sent in 120 soldiers to help the rescue.

The train that derailed is 6 years old and its most recent inspection and major maintenance took place in 2017, Taiwan Railways Administration Director Lu Chie-shen said at a televised news conference.

On a live feed provided by Taiwan's United Daily News, rescuers were seen carefully carrying what appeared to be a body wrapped in white plastic away from the site.

Railway authorities say they are investigating the incident, which happened at about 16:50 local time (08:50 GMT).

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