Taiwan train derailment kills at least 48: Tomb Sweeping Day tourists
Kanako Mita and Noriko Watanabe
Modern Tokyo Times
Tragedy hit Taiwan after a train derailment killed at least 48 people. Reports are still sketchy, but it is believed that over 70 remain trapped after the derailment carrying approximately 470 passengers.
Apparently, many passengers were on the train to observe the Tomb Sweeping Day. This festival is when people clean up the graves of dead family members and pray for ancestors. Hence, making offerings and prayers.
The accident happened in a tunnel in Hualien on board the Taroko Express train.
The BBC reports, “The train is believed to have derailed at around 09:00 local time (01:00 GMT). Local media reports say the accident occurred when a maintenance vehicle fell onto its path.”
Reuters reports, “Images from the scene showed carriages in the tunnel ripped apart by the impact, with others crumpled, hindering rescuers in their efforts to reach passengers, although by mid-afternoon no one was still trapped.”
President Tsai Ing-wen said, “In response to a train derailment in Hualien, Taiwan, our emergency services have been fully mobilized to rescue and assist the passengers and railway staff affected. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident.”
Emergency workers and local hospitals tending to the injured are doing everything possible to help.
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