At least 18 killed, 168 injured after express train derails in Taiwan
Rescue workers gather at the site of a train derailment in Lian county in northern Taiwan on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai) October 21 at 1:39 PM
At least 18 people are dead and 168 injured after an express train in Taiwan derailed Sunday, flipping and toppling carrier cars onto their sides, the Associated Press and AFP reported. The tragedy is the islandâs worst train wreck in decades.
The Puyuma Express train, commonly used by tourists, was en route from Shulin to Taitung with 366 passengers on board. The derailment occurred around 5 p.m. local time in Lian county in northern Taiwan, along a curve.
Taiwan Railways Administrationâs Jason Lu said all eight carriages d erailed and five flipped, and that there were âfour carriages that were overturned at 90 degrees and the worst casualties were in those carriages," according to AFP.
The cause is still unknown, though survivors described extreme shaking and electrical outages throughout the final ride.
âAll of a sudden, I found myself being thrown out of my seat and some other passengers were flipped out of the windows,â a former soldier told cable television network SET, according to the South China Morning Post.
An overturned train is seen in Yilan, Taiwan October 21, 2018. REUTERS/Lee Kun Han
Mandatory Credit: Photo by RITCHIE B TONGO/EPA-EFE/REX (9939584a) A general view on the site of a train accident in Yilan, Taiwan, 21 October 2018. According to reports, at least 17 people died and about 160 are injured after a train carrying 366 people derailed and overturned on 21 October. At least 17 people died in a train accident in Taiwan, Yilan - 21 Oct 2018
Rescue workers tend to the injured at the site of a train derailment in Lian county in northern Taiwan on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. Passengers were killed and injured on Sunday when one of Taiwan's newer, faster trains derailed on a curve along a popular weekend route, officials said. (AP Photo)
The AP reported that the Taiwanese government previously put the death toll as high as 22, but "the National Fire Agency, citing the Cabinet spokesmanâs office, later reduced that figure and blamed a miscalculation.â
The six-year-old train was in âpretty good co nditionâ according to Taiwan Railways Administration deputy chief Lu Chieh-shen, BBC reported. The Administration also promised to compensate families of the deceased in the amount of NT$2.5 million (US$81,000).
President Tsai Ing-wen called the train crash a âmajor tragedy.â
The defense ministry deployed 120 soldiers to aid in rescue efforts; an AFP reporter said that bodies continue to be removed from the debris.
According to South China Morning Post, one American is believed to be injured. The Hong Kong Immigration Department reported they were not aware of any Hong Kong residents who were hurt.
Sundayâs derailment is the countryâs deadliest since a 1981 collision that killed 30, but the third deadly accident since 2003. In 2003, a train traveling toward a mountain tourist destination crashed, killing 17 passengers and injuring another 156, and a toppled tree caused a train crash that killed six and injured at least 50 in 2011.
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