Shocking Train Derailment Kills at Least 18

Some passengers were crushed to death
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 21, 2018 10:45 AM CDT
Fast Taiwan Train Derails, Killing at Least 18
In this photo released by Military News Agency, rescue workers tend to the injured at the site of a train derailment in Lian in northern Taiwan on Sunday, Oct. 21 2018.   (Military News Agency via AP)

One of Taiwan's fastest passenger trains derailed Sunday on a curve along a popular weekend route, killing at least 18 people and injuring more than 170 others, the AP reports. The Puyuma express was carrying more than 360 passengers from a suburb of Taipei in the north to Taitung, a city on Taiwan's southeast coast, when it went off the tracks shortly before 5pm, the government says in a statement. Most of the deaths were in the first car, and it was unclear how many people may still be trapped in the train, says a government spokesman. Some passengers were crushed to death, per Ministry of National Defense spokesman Chen Chung-chi: "Their train car turned over. They were crushed, so they died right away," Chen says.

Earlier, the government put the death toll as high as 22, but the National Fire Agency later reduced that figure, blaming a miscalculation. Photos from the scene just south of the city of Luodong showed the train's cars in a zig-zag formation near the tracks. Five cars were on their sides. Local television reports say passengers tried to escape through windows and that bystanders gathered to help them before rescuers arrived. Hours after the accident, one of the eight cars was seen tipped over at about a 75-degree angle, with the entire right side destroyed. The Puyuma was launched in 2013 to handle the rugged topography of Taiwan's east coast. It is distinct from the high-speed rail that runs on the west coast. The Puyuma trains travel up to 93 miles per hour, faster than any other in Taiwan except for the high-speed rail.

(More Taiwan stories.)

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