Taiwan: Dozens feared dead after train derails inside tunnel

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Dozens of people are feared dead after a train carrying some 350 passengers derailed inside a tunnel in Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operation centre says rescuers are struggling to access four carriages inside the tunnel that are “badly damaged”.

People walk next to a train which derailed in a tunnel north of Hualien

More than 72 people are injured said Reuters quoting the local transport ministry.

The accident occurred at the start of the annual Tomb Sweeping festival, a typically high traffic period.

Pictures online have shown people in unaffected carriages walking along train tracks with their belongings.

“It felt like there was a sudden violent jolt and I found myself falling to the floor,” an unidentified female survivor told Taiwan’s UDN.

We broke the window to climb to the roof of the train to get out.”

According to Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, a number of people still remain trapped inside the train.

An accident occurred this morning at a tunnel in Hualien,” she said in a statement.

“Emergency rescue mechanisms have been put in place for the sick and injured. Rescuing those trapped is our highest priority now.”

Reuters quoting the fire department, said that up to 100 people had been evacuated from four of the train’s carriages.

The Qingming festival, also known as Tomb Sweeping Day, is usually a time when people visit the graves of friends and family, sprucing them up and making offerings to their spirits.

People typically travel during this time to pay their respects to the dead.

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