The tragedy of an eight-carriage train ramming into a construction vehicle in Taiwan left nearly 50 people dead with many others injured. They were traveling from Taipei to Taitung and most of them were looking forward to a long-weekend annual holiday. The BBC reports the train was crowded with more than 500 passengers going to attend a festival. Many of them did not get a seat. They were standing and the sudden impact threw them off balance as the train derailed. It seems the construction vehicle had slipped onto the tracks and blocked the entrance to the tunnel.

Sad day for Taiwan

Rescue teams arrived at the scene to extricate survivors from the mangled carriages. Some of them broke open the windows to escape from the chaotic condition around them. In such situations, there is utter confusion all around. Those who witness death and scenes of bloodshed from close quarters suffer from trauma and take time to recover. The dead and injured could be people they know or could be complete strangers but memories of this nature keep haunting them for the rest of their lives.

The BBC says the train is a high-speed one and can reach speeds of up to 80mph. It is one of the fastest deployed on a network considered safe. This crash is the worst train disaster in Taiwan in decades.

The accident happened in the morning at around 9am local time and claimed 50 lives. It left another 66 injured and they are hospitalized. President Tsai Ing-wen has sent her condolences to the families of the victims and ordered an investigation.

The train accident in Taiwan

The front portion of the train suffered the most.

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Rescue teams had a tough time to take the survivors to safety and shift the injured to hospitals. Many of the dead and the injured were in the first four carriages that were crumpled. The driver of the train was among the dead. Those who were in the rear portion of the train were unscathed and walked to safety. The BBC mentions about witnesses who narrated the aftermath of the accident.

One of them said they broke a window and climbed to the roof to escape. Another talked about injuries she suffered when she fell to the floor. Yet another woman described seeing people trapped under their seats. Obviously, the scenes were certainly not pleasant. In October 2020, Taiwan reported no case of coronavirus infection for 200 consecutive days.

Taiwan trying to establish reasons for the collision

Some construction work was under way near one end of the tunnel. Images reveal a truck lying beside the railway track. Investigation can pinpoint the factors responsible for an accident of such magnitude. Other images are of some of the passengers walking along the track with their belongings while the injured were on stretchers.

Incidentally, many passengers were on their way to a festival devoted to the dead. Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang visited the crash site to get firsthand knowledge on the tragedy. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab offered his condolences via Twitter.

The train hit the tunnel wall north of Hualien in Taiwan

According to Sky News, the train derailed north of Hualien in eastern Taiwan and hit the wall of the tunnel. It collided with a truck that might have slid on to the track. The area is in a mountainous terrain and the parking of the vehicle might not have been proper.

Firefighters confirm evacuation of many passengers from the first four carriages. There was deformation of carriages five to eight and was difficult to access. This is the worst rail disaster Taiwan in at least four decades. Its last major rail crash was in 2018. It happened when an express train derailed and killed 18. Earlier, in 1991, a collision in western Taiwan killed 30 people and injured 112.