TAIPEI, Taiwan — Eighteen people were killed and at least 168 others injured on Sunday when one of Taiwan’s newer, faster trains derailed on a curve along a popular weekend route, officials said.
The Puyuma express train was carrying more than 366 passengers heading from New Taipei bound for Taitung derailed at 4:50 p.m.in Yilan County in northeastern Taiwan Sunday, killing 18 passengers and leaving more than 132 injured as of 7:30 p.m., according to firefighters.
All the eight carriages of the tilting train left the trackand five of them overturned at Xinma railway station in the county,the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) said. According to the Yilan County Fire Bureau, no foreign passengers were listed among the dead or injured.
It is most serious accident involving a Puyuma express since the trains were imported to Taiwan in 2012, the TRA said.
Video from the scene just south of the city of Luodong showed the train’s eight cars in a zig-zag formation near the tracks, some on their sides. Most of the deaths were in the first car, which flipped over, a government spokesman said.
The Ministry of National Defense said it had dispatched 120 military personnel and delivered heavy equipment to speed up rescue operations.
President Tsai Ing-wen has described the accident as a “major tragedy” on Twitter. “My thoughts are with all the victims and their families,” she added.
Authorities are investigating the cause of the derailment, the TRC said.
Today’s train accident in Yilan is a major tragedy. I have directed gvnt agencies & the military to step up rescue efforts. My thoughts are with all the victims & their families.
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) October 21, 2018