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A train derailed in Taiwan, killing and wounding dozens

 At least 50 people were killed after a train carrying about 500 passengers derailed in a tunnel in Taiwan on Friday morning.

Dozens of passengers were also injured, and rescuers are trying to reach several heavily damaged vehicles inside the tunnel.

According to local media, the eight-car train collided with a construction vehicle that had slipped onto the tracks.

The train, which departed from the capital Taipei to Taitung, was carrying people who had traveled to attend an annual religious festival known as tomb sweeping, in which people visit and decorate the graves of their relatives and friends, and make offerings to their souls.

It is believed that many passengers were standing because the train was too full.

The train, bearing the number 408, is one of the fastest-spreading trains on the train network, which is generally considered safe in Taiwan, as it can reach speeds of up to 130 km / hour.

The latest reports from the National Fire Agency said that 490 people were on board the train, and dozens were killed and injured.

About 100 people were rescued from the first four carriages, but about 200 others are still trapped in the train.

The derailment accident occurred around 09:00 local time (01:00 GMT). Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen issued a statement saying, "Saving the besieged is our top priority at the moment."

Local media reports said the train driver was among the dead.

Pictures of the accident show a large, flat yellow truck, lying on the side of the railway, as work is underway on a construction project near the northern end of the tunnel.

It is not known how the truck slid off the bridge.

Other online photos showed passengers walking along the tracks with their luggage as they were evacuated from less affected vehicles. It also showed other survivors being transported on stretchers, with their necks fastened to stents.

"I felt as if there was a sudden violent jolt and I found myself falling to the ground," one of the survivors told UDN of Taiwan. "We broke the window and went onto the train deck to get out."

Friday's accident could be Taiwan's worst railway disaster in decades.

The last train derailment in Taiwan was in 2018, and 18 people were killed.

The worst train accident on the island before today's accident was the one that occurred in 1991, after two trains collided, in which 30 passengers were killed and 112 others were injured.


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