TAIPEI, Taiwan — A passenger train derailed in eastern Taiwan on Friday morning, killing at least one person with many more feared dead, according to the government-run Central News Agency.
The eight-car train had been traveling from the Taipei area to the eastern coastal city of Taitung when it came off the rails in a tunnel just north of Hualien, causing several carriages to hit the walls of the tunnel, the agency reported, citing the fire department.
Photos circulating online showed passengers evacuating from the train as fire department and medical workers tried to access the carriages inside the stone tunnel. In one photo carried by the Central News Agency, a crumpled carriage was smashed against the tunnel wall.
The Taroko Express train is one of the fastest in Taiwan and typically travels at around 80 miles per hour. The agency said the train had been carrying around 350 passengers at the time of the crash.
Friday was the start of the annual “Tomb Sweeping” holiday, a time when Taiwan sees a surge in travel.
In 2018, a Puyuma Express train derailed in northeast Taiwan’s Yilan County, killing 18 people and injuring 170. Taiwanese investigators later found that the train had been going too fast and that the driver had manually disabled an automatic train protection system designed to prevent the train from exceeding safe speeds.
The 2018 crash was the deadliest in Taiwan since 1981, when a collision in Miaoli County, in the island’s northwest, killed 31 people.