Truck driver questioned in Taiwan train accident

Marco Green
Апреля 4, 2021

At least 51 people are dead and dozens more injured after a train barreled into an unmanned truck that had rolled onto the track in Taiwan on Friday, becoming the country's deadliest rail disaster.

At least 41 people have died and up to 200 remain trapped after a train carrying almost 500 people crashed and then derailed in a tunnel in Taiwan. The manager of the construction site is suspected of having failed to engage the brake properly.

A live Facebook broadcast by UDN outside the tunnel showed a row of undamaged train carriages with rescuers helping passengers escape. With much of the train stuck inside the tunnel, some survivors were forced to climb out of windows and walk along the train's roof to safety.

The express train that derailed in a tunnel in eastern Taiwan was manufactured by Hitachi Ltd. and started operations in May 2007 as Taiwan's first tilting rail vehicle, the major Japanese conglomerate said.

Dead include 1 French, 2 USA citizens. Numerous almost 500 passengers on board may have been standing because the train was so full.

A construction truck operated by the railway slid down a hillside and onto the track, Taiwan Railways Administration news officer Weng Hui-ping, said, causing the train to partially derail inside a mountain tunnel.

Rescue workers recover a body from a derailed train near the Taroko Gorge area in Hualien, Taiwan on Friday.

The Hualien district court allowed the truck owner to post bail of 500,000 new Taiwan dollars but he must stay in the county and avoid contact with any witnesses, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.

In a tweet, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said emergency services "have been fully mobilised to rescue & assist the passengers & railway staff affected".

"This heartbreaking accident caused many injuries and deaths".

"At the beginning, they still responded when we called them".

Tsai told reporters Friday that she asked the Transportation Safety Committee to conduct a strict investigation.

"When such a thing happens, I feel very sorry and I will take full responsibility", Lin said after touring the site.

Footage released by the Taiwan Red Cross showed specialists with helmets and headlights had to use the roof of the stricken train to reach people inside the narrow single-track tunnel.

The island's worst crash in recent history was in 1991, when 30 passengers were killed and 112 injured after two trains collided.

A rescue worker guides others as they remove a part of the derailed train.

Officials said the accident could have been caused by a maintenance vehicle sliding down an embankment and striking the train before it entered the tunnel near the coastal city of Hualien.

The National Fire Service confirmed that 48 people were dead and more than 100 injured.

The government's disaster response centre said it was the worst rail disaster since a train caught fire in 1948 in suburban Taipei, killing 64 people.

Many of those on the train are believed to have been travelling to celebrate the Tomb Sweeping festival - a time when people pay their respects to the dead by visiting the graves of friends and family, sprucing them up and making offerings to their spirits. The train had been carrying more than 400 people.

Taiwan's eastern railway line is a popular tourist draw down its less populated eastern coastline.

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